An American man who received his first pig heart transplant died two months later

The first person to receive a heart transplant from a pig died. Two months after the groundbreaking experiment, a hospital in Maryland, where the surgery was performed, announced Wednesday.

David Bennett, 57, died on Tuesday at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Doctors did not reveal the exact cause of death, just saying that his condition began to worsen a few days ago.

Bennett’s son praised the hospital for providing the final experiment and said the family hoped to help further efforts to end the organ shortage.

“We are grateful for all the innovative moments, all the dreamy dreams, and all the sleepless nights spent on this historic effort,” the University of Maryland School of Medicine announced. In a statement, David Bennett Jr. said. “I hope this story is the beginning and not the end of hope.”

For decades, doctors have sought to someday use animal organs for life-saving transplants. Bennett, a handyman in Hagerstown, Maryland, was a candidate for this latest attempt simply because he faced a particular death in some other way.

After the operation on January 7th Bennett’s son told The Associated Press that his father knew there was no guarantee that it would work.

Previous attempts at such transplants (or xenografts) have failed, primarily due to the rapid rejection of animal organs by the patient’s body. This time, a Maryland surgeon used a genetically edited pig heart. Scientists have removed the pig’s genes that cause ultra-fast rejection and modified the animals to add human genes to help the body accept organs.

Initially the pig’s heart is functioning, and Maryland Hospital has issued regular updates that Bennett appears to be slowly recovering. Last month, the hospital released a video of him watching the Super Bowl from the hospital bed while working with a physiotherapist.

Bennett survived much longer than one of the last milestones of xenotransplantation in a genetically edited pig heart-Baby Fae, a dying California infant in 1984, in a baboon heart for 21 days. When I lived.

“We have been overwhelmed by Bennett’s disappearance. He proved to be a brave and noble patient who fought to the end,” Dr. Bartley Griffith, who had surgery at Baltimore Hospital, said in a statement. ..

The need for another organ source is enormous. Last year, more than 41,000 transplants were made in the United States, including about 3,800 heart transplants. However, more than 106,000 people remain on the national waiting list, thousands die each year before they get their organs, and thousands more are not added to the list.

The Food and Drug Administration has allowed dramatic Maryland experiments under “compassionate use” rules for emergencies. Bennett’s doctor said he had heart failure and arrhythmias, and had a history of not following medical instructions. He was considered ineligible for human heart transplants, which require rigorous use of immunosuppressive drugs, or transplanted heart pumps, which are the remaining alternatives.

Doctors did not reveal the exact cause of Bennett’s death. Rejection, infections, and other complications are risks to transplant recipients.

However, Bennett’s experience “provided valuable insights into how the GM pig’s heart can function well in the human body while the immune system is properly suppressed,” said an animal at the University of Maryland. Dr. Muhammad Mohiudin, Director of Science for Animals, said. Human porting program.

One of the next questions is whether scientists have learned enough from Bennett’s and other experiences. Recent experiments Use genetically edited pig organs to convince the FDA to allow clinical trials. Failure of an organ such as the kidney may not be immediately fatal.

Twice last fall, New York University surgeons from a family of deceased individuals temporarily attached genetically-edited pig kidneys to extracorporeal blood vessels, which functioned before they were life-sustaining. I got permission to observe. And a surgeon at the University of Alabama at Birmingham went one step further by transplanting a pair of genetically edited pig kidneys into a brain-dead man and performing a step-by-step rehearsal of surgery that he would probably want to try on a living patient later. rice field. Year.

Pigs have long been used in human medicine, including skin grafts on pigs and heart valve transplants on pigs. However, transplanting an entire organ is much more complicated than using highly treated tissue. The genetically engineered pigs used in these experiments are Revivicor, a subsidiary of United Therapeutics, one of several biotechnology companies running to develop pig organs suitable for potential human transplants. Provided by.


The Associated Press’s Department of Health Sciences is supported by the Science Education Department of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. AP is solely responsible for all content.