In a first-of-its-kind surgery, a 57-year-old patient in the United States of America with terminal heart disease received a successful transplant of a genetically-modified pig heart and is still doing well three days later.
The successful surgery was performed by a Pakistani doctor, Dr Mansoor Mohiuddin, along with a team of other surgeons from the University of Maryland Medical Center.
The University of Maryland School of Medicine said in a release that the surgery would bring the world “one step closer to solving the organ shortage crisis”.
This organ transplant, being considered a landmark in the field of medical science, demonstrated for the first time that a genetically-modified animal heart can function like a human heart without immediate rejection by the body.
“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,” said Mr. Bennett, the patient, a day before the surgery was conducted. He had been hospitalized and bedridden for the past few months. “I look forward to getting out of bed after I recover.”
“This is the culmination of years of highly complicated research to hone this technique in animals with survival times that have reached beyond nine months. The FDA used our data and data on the experimental pig to authorize the transplant in an end-stage heart disease patient who had no other treatment options,” said Dr. Mohiuddin. “The successful procedure provided valuable information to help the medical community improve this potentially life-saving method in future patients.”
Dr. Mohiuddin serves as the program’s Scientific/Program Director and Dr. Griffith as its Clinical Director. He is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on transplanting animal organs, known as xenotransplantation.
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 the federal government’s organdonor.gov.