Recent experiments in the lengthy quest to save human lives using animal organs have resulted in the transplantation of pig hearts into two brain dead persons by researchers in New York.
Following a groundbreaking but ultimately unsuccessful effort earlier this year to utilize a pig’s heart to save the life of a dying Maryland man, scientists unveiled their latest tests on Tuesday.
One of the most valuable things I’ve learned is how crucial it is to practice with those who have passed on.
A Vietnam veteran from Pennsylvania with a lengthy history of heart problems and a New York lady who had benefitted from a transplant earlier in life both had their hearts sewn into their chests using sophisticated new technologies to screen for any worrying animal viruses.
Then, during the next three days, the patient was subjected to a battery of tests that were much beyond what they could handle, including several organ biopsies.
Small numbers of Americans who require a new organ are already being considered by the Food and Drug Administration for rigorous tests of either pig hearts or kidneys. Three transplant hospitals are preparing studies, including NYU Langone, and an FDA conference is scheduled for August to discuss criteria.
First trials in the living might benefit from testing in the dead
Scientists have attempted xenotransplantation, or human-to-animal transplants, for decades without success. This is because people’s immune systems destroyed the alien tissue nearly immediately. Human organ transplantation is in limited supply, and scientists are working to improve the organs of pigs to make them more human-like. In the United States, there are more than 100,000 individuals waiting for a kidney transplant, and thousands of them die each year while they wait.
Researchers at University of Maryland Medical Center transplanted an animal heart into an elderly patient in January, their most ambitious effort to far. David Bennett’s two-month survival shows that xenotransplantation is at least theoretically conceivable. David Bennett. However, early tests failed to detect the presence of an animal virus in the organ. Researchers in Maryland recently stated in the New England Journal of Medicine that they still don’t know what caused Bennett’s new heart to fail and whether or not the virus had a part.