The first-ever-pig-to-human heart transplant occurred earlier this month and offers hope for thousands in need of organs!
Doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center, conducted a successful transplant of a gene-edited pig to a patient in need of a heart transplant to save his life. This is the first time in history; where a gene-edited pig has been used as an organ donor.
This was an experimental surgery, to which the 57-year-old patient agreed. His family also showed their excitement when this type of transplant was brought to their attention noting that it is, “nothing short of a miracle.”
The surgery took a total of 9 hours, the heart of a one-year-old, 240-pound gene-edited pig was transplanted into the patient and was a success.
The patient is doing well, he is breathing on his own without the assistance of a ventilator. However, he is still on an ECMO machine (which is helping pump his blood throughout his body), which his doctors will slowly wean him off.
Since pig organs are similar to humans, and there has been so much success with pig valve replacements, they developed and bred a pig for transplant use. Dr. Robert Montgomery, Surgeon at NYU Langone and a heart transplant recipient himself said, “this is truly a remarkable breakthrough.”
At this time, no one knows what the success rate will be, or how long the patient is expected to live. However, many are already saying they consider this a success as well as making it one step closer to helping so many people on the transplant list! This is hopefully not just for hearts, but other organs as well!!
–Shaina McCloud, Executive Assistant