Xenotransplantation Pig Heart: The University of Maryland Medical Center achieved a successful pig heart transplant with modified genes in a human. This is a significant healthcare improvement. Organ donation improved significantly with the September 20, 2023 surgery.
Lawrence Faucette, 58, had surgery for heart disease. He had peripheral vascular disease and internal bleeding, worsening his condition and blocking a heart donation. Faucette visited UM Medical Center on September 14 for heart failure.
The FDA allowed xenotransplantation in the US through “compassionate use.” People with life-threatening diseases can access experimental medicines outside clinical trials.
Revivcor, a United Therapeutics Corp. subsidiary, altered pig genes. This pig’s genes are altered. For instance, three genes that produce alpha gal sugar, found in pig blood cells and causing an immune response and potential organ rejection, were deactivated. Six human genes were added to the pig’s genome for better compatibility with the human defense system. According to the FDA, gene-edited pigs may be used in medicine and consumed by 2020.
Faucette is receiving an antibody treatment to reduce the immune system and organ rejection risk. This is done for surgical success. People will monitor for signs of pig aversion or virus transmission. , the pig was thoroughly checked for viruses or diseases before being given away.
Dr. Griffith praised Faucette’s bravery in undergoing this treatment. It was done with his consent after evaluation and consultation.
Lawrence Faucette’s story is tragic. Faucette is married with 2 kids. He served in the Navy for 20 years. Before leaving, he worked at NIH. Ann Faucette, his wife, desired more quality time and appreciation for life’s simple joys.
No clinical tests use live people receiving pig parts. New health methods are being tested. David Bennett was the first to receive this treatment at UMD Medical Center in Jan 2022. He passed away 2 months post-surgery due to health issues.
In Bennett’s case, no rejection signs appeared in the early weeks post-transplant. An autopsy revealed heart failure caused by factors, including using a heart-lung bypass machine before transplant. A new pig virus was found in a Lancet study.
This occurs when demand for transplants exceeds organ supply. The US government reports 113,000 people await organ transplants, 3,000 needing a heart transplant. Every day, 17 people die waiting for an organ donor. It’s a shame.
Xenotransplantation gives hope to people like Lawrence Faucette. But they also highlight the challenges and risks of pursuing innovative medical endeavors. Doctors pushing organ donation limits a successful pig heart transplant into a human for the second time, a big step in medical science, gives hope to those needing organ donations.