Doctors in the United States have announced the success of the first operation to transplant a genetically modified pig heart into the human body.
Doctors say David Bennett, who underwent surgery three days after the seven-hour operation, is fine.
The operation was seen as Bennett’s last hope of saving his life, although it is not yet clear what his chances of survival will be in the long run.
The day before the surgery, Bennett, 57, said, “I’m going to die or I have to have this surgery, which is my last wish.”
Doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center have obtained a special exemption from U.S. medical authorities to perform surgery on the grounds that Bennett may have died.
According to the medical team that performed the procedure, this is the culmination of many years of research and could change lives around the world.
“This will bring the world of surgery one step closer to resolving the organ shortage crisis,” said surgeon Bartley B. Griffiths said in a statement at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
As a result of this crisis, 17 people die every day in the United States while waiting for organ transplant surgery, and more than 100,000 are on the waiting list.
Studies have long been conducted to explore the possibility of using animal organs.
In October 2021, surgeons in New York announced the success of transplanting a pig’s kidney into a human body. At the time, this process was by far the most advanced experiment in the field.
However, the recipient reached the brain drain in the hope that he would be recovered later.
Nevertheless, Bennett hopes the transplant will allow him to continue his life.
Bennett was bedridden for six weeks before surgery, and was fitted with a machine that kept him alive after he was diagnosed with heart disease.
He said last Thursday: “I’m looking forward to getting out of bed after recovering.
But it is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post.
The AFP reported that the pig used in the process was genetically modified to produce the gene that produces the sugar and induces immunity in humans.
Griffiths said they were “moving forward with caution” and were watching Bennett closely, while his son David Bennett Jr. admitted to the Associated Press that they were “unknown at this point”.
But he added, “He’s aware of what happened and he really understands its significance.”