(ORDO NEWS) — In the United States, the world’s first pig heart transplant to a human was performed. But we are, of course, not talking about an ordinary animal. In order to reduce the risk of rejection, the donor pig was genetically modified.
The patient taking this step is 57-year-old David Bennett. He has a very difficult cardiac diagnosis. In fact, he was in a dying state. That is why Bennett volunteered to participate in this incredible and very risky experiment.
“It was a forced decision. My father, one might say, was already on his deathbed, his prognosis was very, very bad, he had several weeks, but not more than six months. And the doctors did everything in their power to save his life. “- said the patient’s son David Bennett Jr.
Bennett’s condition is now assessed as grave, but stable. There is no more threat of rejection of the new heart.
The doctors who performed this operation are still extremely careful in their predictions, but they are already sure that together with the patient they made a real revolution.
“The patient told us that he wants to live, but if he is not given, then he would like to die usefully, that we will all learn something new. This is a very important step in the history of medicine.
Now many are simply denied surgery, because no donated hearts, or because others need them more than them. This is segregation by age or by the severity of the disease. This should not be, “- said Professor of the School of Medicine at the University of Maryland Bartley Griffith.
“In the history of transplantation, no one has yet succeeded in transplanting a pig’s heart into a human. This is the first time! It has always been said that xenotransplantation is the future.
But now I am very happy to say that xenotransplantation is real,” said Muhammad Mohiuddin, professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Pig organs have long been of interest to transplantologists because of their physiological similarity with the organs of primates, including humans. If this experiment not only ends successfully, but also gets a continuation, then pigs can really save humanity.
According to the World Health Organization, heart disease has become the leading cause of death in the world over the past 20 years. They account for half of all deaths. It is clear that not everyone will be helped by transplantation.
But nevertheless, of those whom she could save, many simply do not wait for the right donor. But experts note that in addition to the development of technologies, there is also an ethical issue that also needs to be resolved.
“Heart transplantation for people is a big problem, it is difficult to find a donor and there are few organs, the queues are gigantic. Man’s long-standing dream was the ability to transplant some organ tissue cells from animals.
The ideal animal in this regard is a pig. That is, an animal that grows up to a due a condition similar to a person in about six months. She lives for a long time, that is, the heart can live for decades.
We can say that this organ will be cheaper and the queues for a heart transplant will be greatly reduced, “says neurologist Pavel Horoshev.
“How the event will develop further, and, most likely, we will need to somehow adopt this technology.
It’s just that the question of the permissibility of xenotransplantation arises here, since a moratorium was imposed on it in the 80s,” the chief freelance transplant specialist emphasized Russian Ministry of Health, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Sergei Gauthier.
According to him, the issue is in the development of genomic technologies and the economic aspect.
Transplant surgeon Mikhail Kaabak noted that the danger of xenotransplantation lies in the possibility of transferring infections from animal to human. The specialist pointed out that very little is invested in the study of animal infections.
“As for ethics, talking about it is hypocrisy, saying that it is not ethical, but at the same time eating animal meat, such reproaches can be heard from vegetarians,” he summed up.
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