Health. Man dies six weeks after world’s second pig heart transplant

Health.  Man dies six weeks after world’s second pig heart transplant

Lawrence Faucette, 58, was deemed ineligible for a human heart transplant due to advanced heart disease, with a pig heart transplant being “the only option”. But this will not have been enough. The patient – the second in the world – died six weeks after the operation. “We mourn the loss of Mr. Faucette, a remarkable patient, scientist, Navy veteran and family man who simply wanted to spend a little more time with his wife, sons and family,” said the surgeon who performed the operation.

While the graft initially appeared to take, the patient began showing signs of rejection in recent days, the University of Maryland noted. The establishment had already carried out the world’s first transplant of a genetically modified pig heart into a human, in January 2022, without further success.

Great hopes raised

The transplant had raised high hopes, because such xenografts — from an animal to a human — could potentially help remedy the shortage of organ donations. Currently, more than 100,000 Americans are on the waiting list for a transplant.

These xenografts represent a real challenge because the recipient’s immune system tends to attack the foreign organ. It is to reduce this risk that pig organs are genetically modified. For many, pigs represent ideal organ donors because of their size, rapid growth and litters of many young.

Kidney transplants from genetically modified pigs have recently also been carried out on brain dead patients. The Transplant Institute at NYU Langone Hospital in New York announced in September that a pig kidney transplanted into a brain-dead patient functioned for a record 61 days.

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