A team of surgeons at the University of Maryland Medical School announced on Monday they had implanted the heart of a genetically modified pig into a human being. Considered a world first, doctors hailed the transplant a historic milestone.
Although the prognosis of patient David Bennett, 57, is still uncertain, he was enthusiastic, I look forward to getting out of bed after I recover. He added I am aware the whole operation was a shot in the dark, it was my last chance
Bennett had been connected for months to a heart-lung bypass machine to keep him alive since he was not apt for a traditional organ transplant.
Faced with the situation and repeatedly petitioned the United States Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency authorization for the surgery on New Year's eve.
This was a breakthrough surgery and brings us one step closer to solving the organ shortage crisis, said Bartley Griffith, one of the surgeons on the team. There are simply not enough donor human hearts available to meet the long list of potential recipients.
About 110,000 Americans are currently waiting for an organ transplant, and more than 6,000 patients die each year before getting one, according to official figures. The procedure known as cardiac xenotransplant is the culmination of years of research.
Pig heart valves and pig skin grafts are widely used on human patients and in this case the chosen pigs are the result of gene editing that has removed certain markers that caused patients to reject the organs