With the development of science and technology, now everybody is getting used to the issue of organ transplantation between animals and humans. Earlier, pig kidneys were transplanted into the human body through genetic engineering. And this time the pig heart transplantation took place in a human body. Physicians at the University of Maryland Medical School in the United States have finally done this revolutionary surgery. Let's get to know the details of this groundbreaking addition to the medical sciences.
Transplantation of pig heart in the human body
The organ transplants between different species (called xenotransplantation in medical science) began in the 18th century. Preliminary research was focused on primates. But all such attempts have repeatedly failed because the organs of those animals are incompatible with the internal structure of the human body. The incident of baby Fae can be the nearest example. In 1984, the baby survived for 21 days with a baboon's heart.
Then at the beginning of the third decade of the 21st century, the surgery by Bertley Griffith and his team based set a pathbreaking example in Maryland. It took about eight hours to transplant the pig's heart into the chest of 57-year-old David Bennett. Not to mention, Friday, January 7, 2022, was a very breath-taking day for Bennett's family as well as his doctors.
Six human genes were inserted into the genome to work on a total of 10 unique genes. This genetic engineering was performed in September 2021 by the biotech firm Revivicor of Virginia. They temporarily attached a pig's kidney to a brain-dead human body and it started working.
And the Maryland transplant took that test to the next level. They used the heart of a pig that was undergoing genetic engineering to remove sugar from its cells. These pigs are made as ideal donors due to their size, rapid growth, and rapid breeding characteristics.
This heart was provided by the biotech firm Revivicor. The organ was preserved in a special machine to keep it healthy until surgery. It also uses an experimental new anti-rejection drug developed by Kinixa Pharmaceuticals.
The most difficult part of this experimental surgery was to tell the patient the whole story. And Dr. Bertley Griffith, the chief physician of this surgery, has done this very wisely. Since the first treatment, the whole matter from beginning to end was full of uncertainty. Earlier, Dr. Grifith transplanted pig hearts into about 50 baboons in five years.
American David Bennett: First human to get pig heart transplantation
Throughout his life, David Bennett has been involved in a variety of activities, including pool repair, car maintenance, and painting. About a decade ago he fitted a pig's valve.
He went on a rampage several times looking for a heart donor, and he was devastated after failing a few heart transplant tests. Physical condition, heart failure, and irregular heartbeat made him ineligible for an artificial heart pump. In this way, even trying for two months to save his heart did not work.
After thinking about all this, Dr. Bennett decided to go with Griffith's proposal.
The patient's current condition after complex surgery
The first 48 hours after the surgery was spent without any serious incident. The situation has improved considerably since last Monday. Bennett was still attached to the heart-lung bypass machine and was able to breathe on his own. However, this is not uncommon in patients with new heart transplants.
Yet the response of every part of his body is being closely monitored. Although the risk is low, the risk of infection with the pig virus or porcine retrovirus is still being monitored.
However, more time is needed to explore whether such early-stage replacement can work in the end. Even then, Bennett hopes it will work out eventually and that he will be able to have a human heart into his chest later.
Today, many patients are dying around the world of the unavailability of matched organs. The successful transplantation of a pig's heart into a human body is a futuristic invention. This initiative's ultimate practical success will raise the hopes of millions of other physically challenged patients, including those with congenital disabilities. We can hope that, in the future, the supply of organs will surmount the number of patients. The pig's heart, which was placed on Bennett's chest, contained life-saving properties as a by-product dut to genetic engineering. Therefore, revolutionary changes in heart transplantation can be expected in near future.