Researchers in New York placed pig hearts in two brain-dead people in June† This means that science is one step closer to the possibility of saving human lives with animal organs in the future, the news agency writes AP† The transplants came on the heels of a historic attempt earlier this year to keep a dying man alive in Maryland.†
The doctors of the medical team themselves removed hearts from genetically modified pigs, put them on ice and brought them back to New York, to NYU Langone Health Academic Medical Center. There they used new methods to detect animal viruses before placing the heart in the chest of the deceased.
Hearts were placed in the body of a Vietnam warrior with a long history of heart disease and the body of a woman who benefited from a transplant earlier in her life. After three days of more intense testing than a living patient could tolerate, doctors switched off the ventilators.
Scientists have tested that it is important to rehearse the deceased. “We learned a lot from the first that the second one is much better,” said surgeon Nader Moazami, who led the surgeries at NYU Langone Health. “You stand there in awe,” said most of me, when the pig’s heart begins to beat in the human body.
Animal organs are genetically modified
Doctors and researchers have been trying to transfer organs from animals to humans for decades. These attempts were never successful because the human immune system rejected the foreign tissue almost immediately. Now pigs are genetically modified so that their organs are more like those of humans. As a result, there is increasing hope that pig organs will be able to compensate for the shortage of donor organs in the future.
In January, doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center transplanted a pig’s heart into a dying 57-year-old man. David Bennett survived for two months, proof that pig organ transplantation is an option. The animal virus was not detected in the heart in the first tests. According to the scientists, it is not yet known whether Bennett died from the effects of the virus, or from heart failure.
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