What Does a Pig-to-Human Heart Transplant Mean for Medicine?
Scientific achievements usually raise big new questions, and the remarkable surgery that took place on January 7, when Maryland resident David Bennett was transplanted with a genetically modified heart from a pig, has been no different. The 57-year-old with end-stage heart failure had been repeatedly turned down for a standard transplant and was judged a poor candidate for a ventricular assist device. Now his new heart is beating soundly and apparently accepted by his immune system as Bennett, his physicians at the University of Maryland where the procedure took place, and indeed the world set out on a journey with far more unknowns than knowns.
@arvind ransplantation remains the gold standard for patients with advanced heart failure despite modern medical and device therapy, Allen agreed. But if we can raise pig hearts that provide the organ, and it can be implanted with a surgery that's been done for 50 years, and rejection can be managed with gene editing and tailored immunosuppression, then it's not hard to think about this very rapidly replacing a lot of what we do in the advanced heart failure and transplantation world