Man receives genetically-modified pig heart in historic transplant

Washington, US, Jan 11 (EFE).- David Bennett has become the first person in the world to get a heart transplant from a genetically-modified pig in a “first-of-its-kind surgery,” the University of Maryland, School of Medicine said.

In a statement on Monday, clinicians reported that the 57-year-old is still doing well three days after the historic surgery.

The patient was suffering from a terminal heart disease and was deemed ineligible for traditional transplant. A porcine heart was his only option left for survival.

“It was either die or do this transplant. I want to live. I know it’s a shot in the dark, but it’s my last choice,” Mr. Bennett had said a day before the surgery.

The surgery not only saved Mr. Bennett’s life but also has proven that a genetically-modified animal heart can function like a human heart without immediate rejection by the body.

“This was a breakthrough surgery and brings us one step closer to solving the organ shortage crisis. There are simply not enough donor human hearts available to meet the long list of potential recipients,” Bartley P. Griffith, MD, who surgically transplanted the pig heart into the patient, said.

Some 110,000 people in the United States are currently waiting for an organ transplant while over 6,000 patients die before getting one, according to government data.

“We are proceeding cautiously, but we are also optimistic that this first-in-the-world surgery will provide an important new option for patients in the future,” Griffith added. EFE


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