July 5, 2022

The Queens County Citizen

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Pig heart transplant: a feat, but progress is still uncertain, experts say

Pig heart transplant: a feat, but progress is still uncertain, experts say

The transformation of the pig heart into a human being announced this week in the United States marks an impressive breakthrough. But it has not yet been proven to change the situation, underlining experts in the field in France and the United Kingdom.

“It’s already a feat,” French anesthetist Franకోois Kerboul summed up on Wednesday, who follows Transplants Field in the biomedicine agency, the French company responsible for the field.

The American University of Maryland on Monday announced that surgeons have successfully implanted a pig heart into a human patient.


The operation was performed on Friday and showed for the first time that an animal heart can continue to function inside a human without immediate rejection. Other “genografts” have been attempted in the past, but patients died immediately.

One aspect of the American operation is much needed: the removal of proteins that cause the immediate rejection of the donor pig, a genetically modified animal, especially an inhuman organ.

This did not happen. But as transplant surgeon Bartley Griffith puts it, can this progress provide a “solution to organ failure” in the years to come?

It is too early to tell, researchers unanimously warn.

“This is the first step, but perhaps the next few weeks or months will be crucial to give us some perspective,” Kerbole explained.

During this time it will be possible for a fifty-year-old person who is not medically qualified to receive a human heart to know how much the patient’s body has accepted the transplanted organ.

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There are so many uncertainties. However, if the pig is chosen as an animal, its heart will be relatively close to that of man.

But, can it function in a two-legged creature accustomed to a vertical station, with the actual animal on all fours and requiring little effort from its heart?

Francis Wells, a cardiac surgeon at the British Institute of Science Media Center, summed up, “This is the most important thing in the medium and long term.

“At the moment, we have no information about this yet and we are carefully monitoring how this courageous patient is developing,” he said. “Maybe it’s too early to make such a statement to the world.”