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Scientists Discover Potential and Opportunities for Pig Organ Transplant in Humans

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Scientists Discover Potential and Opportunities for Pig Organ Transplant in Humans

Researchers and surgeons from New York University (NYU), United States have succeeded in transplanting pork liver in two brain-dead people by genetic engineering.

According to the researchers, the pig heart transplant is a series of steps towards the long-term goal of saving human lives with organ transplants from animals one day.

In the case of this pig heart transplant, they said the heart could function normally without any signs of rejection during a 3-day trial period in June and July 2022.

This experiment is a continuation of the case of the death of a man from terminal heart disease, who became the first recipient of a pig heart transplant. This trial became a form of exercise before researchers tried it again on living people.

Previously, he had made history for 2 months as the first person to receive a pork heart at the University of Maryland. However, his pig’s heart transplant failed and he died for no apparent reason.

According to NYU, these pig hearts were engineered by Revvicor and screened for viruses using an improved monitoring protocol. The heart also showed no evidence of a pig virus called porcine cytomegalovirus which was detected in the blood of the Maryland man and may have caused his death.

According to NYU researchers, these pig hearts were engineered by Revivicor and screened for viruses using an improved monitoring protocol. The heart also showed no evidence of a swine virus called porcine cytomegalovirus which was detected in the blood of the Maryland man and may have caused his death.

Pigs have four genetic modifications to prevent rejection and abnormal growth of organs while helping to prevent incompatibility between pigs and humans.

NYU researchers also transplanted pig kidneys into two brain-dead recipients in 2021.

Currently, they believe that xenotransplantation is safer in brain-dead patients than living patients and is more informative because biopsies can be performed more frequently.

The researchers say procurement, transportation, transplant surgery, and immunosuppression are all carried out in the same way as in human heart transplants.

“Our goal is to integrate the practices used in everyday heart transplantation, with only non-human organs that will function normally without additional assistance from untested devices or drugs,” said Dr Nader Moazami, director of heart transplant surgery at NYU Langone quoted from CNA Newson Thursday (14/7).

“The 72-hour experiment yielded preliminary data, leaving many questions to be answered before starting human pig heart trials,” he added.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is now considering the possibility of allowing a small number of Americans who need a new organ, either from a pig’s heart or kidney, to volunteer for this rigorous study.

Animal-to-human transplantation aka xenotransplantation has been attempted for decades without success. The main challenge is that the human immune system attacks foreign tissues almost instantly.

Now, pigs are genetically modified so that their organs are more like humans. That approach raises hopes that one day they can help fill the shortage of donated organs.

More than 100,000 people in the US are on the national waiting list for transplants. Most of them are kidney patients, and thousands of them die every year before their turn to get donors. (M-4)


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