A US patient recovers well after a seven hour surgery. The procedure involves no modification of human DNA.
For the first time, a human has received a heart transplant from a genetically modified pig.
The medical success was announced by the Maryland University. After years of research in this area, the univeristy's medical centre was granted a special authorisation by the health authorities to go ahead with this special procedure.
David Bennett, a 57-year-old man with terminal heart disease underwent the 7-hour-long surgery, and was feeling “extremely well” after the procedure.
“It is an absolute miracle, and it provides a lot of hope for my family, my dad and many others”, said the son of David Bennett speaking to the BCC. “A pig heart has never been on a human, so we are thankful for each day we have with our dad”.
Bennett had been deemed ineligible for a human transplant. “It was either die or do this transplant”, the patient said in a statement before undergoing the surgery.
Members of the medical team described the transplant as a “game-changer”. Currently around 100,000 people in the US are on waiting lists to get an organ transplant. Surgeon Bartley Griffith said the surgery would bring the world “one step closer to solving the organ shortage crisis”.
The medical centre said the patient would be “carefully monitored over the next days and weeks to determine whether the transplant provides lifesaving benefits”.
The Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF) of the United Kingdom welcomed the news and said it did not imply bioethical problems.
Talking to British radio Premier Christian Radio, CMF’s CEO Mark Pickering said “we are on the right side of the line” in terms of ethical issues because in this case there was no modification of the human’s DNA.
“I think the whole question is: ‘are you modifying the species?’ and in this case, you're not because this transplant recipient will die at some point anyway, it's not going to change anything for his descendants”, Pickering added.
The Christians Medical Fellowship brings together 5,000 medical doctors and 300 nurses in the United Kingdom.