US Man Who Received Genetically Modified Pig Heart Transplant Has Died

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pig heart transplant

A 58 year old man, who was given a pig heart transplant in a highly experimental surgery almost six weeks ago, has died his doctors announced Tuesday.

Navy veteran, Lawrence Faucette from Frederick, Maryland, had end-stage heart disease and was ineligible for a traditional heart transplant when he underwent surgery to replace his heart with a genetically modified pig heart on Sept. 20.

Faucette was the second person in the US to have a pig heart transpant. The first patient also died.

Fox News reports: According to the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the heart appeared to be healthy for at least four weeks and doctors expressed optimism in the treatment. They also withdrew the drugs that were initially supporting his heart. Then he began showing signs of rejection. Faucette died Monday.

Faucette’s wife, Ann, said in a statement released by the hospital that her husband “knew his time with us was short and this was his last chance to do for others. He never imagined he would survive as long as he did.”

Attempts at animal-to-human organ transplants — called xenotransplants — have failed for decades, as people’s immune systems immediately destroyed the foreign tissue.

Scientists have begun genetically modifying pigs to make their organs more humanlike.

The Maryland team performed the world’s first transplant of a heart from a genetically altered pig into another dying man last year.

The first patient, David Bennett, survived two months before the transplanted heart failed. The cause for the failure was not immediately clear but doctors said signs of a pig virus were later found inside the organ.

Niamh Harris
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