The second person to receive a heart from a genetically modified pig was a 58-year-old American.
The transplantation, as in the first case, was carried out at the University of Maryland Medical Center in the USA. It is worth recalling that the first patient, David Bennett, who received a pig heart in January 2022, lived with him for two months.
One hundred thousand Americans are on the waiting list for organ transplants. An acute shortage of donors has prompted scientists to study xenotransplantation – the use of animal organs for humans.
The second pig-to-human heart transplant took place on September 20. Navy veteran Lawrence Fawcett was diagnosed with end-stage heart failure and deemed “unsuitable” for a human heart transplant. He had no hope left. Thus, the decision to transplant a porcine heart represented “the only option.” Before the operation the man said:
“At least now I have hope, I have a chance.”
And his wife added:
“We have no expectations other than spending more time together…Sitting on the veranda and drinking coffee together.”
According to doctors, the operation was successful. Lawrence Fawcett is now breathing without mechanical support and his new heart is working well. The man is receiving immunosuppressants and a “new antibody treatment” to prevent his body from rejecting the transplant. This is why the transplant comes from a genetically modified pig – to limit the risk of rejection.
Previously, our publication talked about the revolution in transplantation: to humans transplanted 2 genetically modified pig kidneys. The lifespan of pigs is approximately 30 years. Their organs are similar (in size) to human ones, so they can be used in transplantations. But more research is needed before xenograft can be used to address the current organ shortage.
Video about the first pig heart transplant in 2022: