Transplant: Man gets genetically modified pig heart

In what can be called a first-of-its-kind surgery, a man in the US has got a genetically modified pig heart in transplant.   

The 57-year-old man is doing well three days after the operation, University of Maryland Medicine said in a news release on Monday.  

The man, who belongs to Maryland, had terminal heart disease. According to release, the pig heart was “the only currently available option” for the patient, David Bennett.  

On review of medical records, he was deemed ineligible for an artificial heart pump or a conventional heart transplant.  

Before the surgery, Bennett said, “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.”   

UMMC performs first-of-its-kind surgery successfully transplanting a genetically-modified pig heart to terminal heart disease patient. Learn more:— Univ. of Maryland Medical Center (@UMMC) January 10, 2022

On December 31, the US Food and Drug Administration had granted emergency authorisation for the operation.  

To make it work, three genes, which are responsible for rejection of pig organs by human immune systems, were removed from the pig.  

To avert excessive pig heart tissue growth, another gene was taken out. Not just this, six human genes responsible for acceptance of immune system were added.  

The doctors will monitor him for some time to see if the transplant works.  

(With inputs from agencies) 

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