Surgeons perform historic second transplant of a genetically modified pig heart into a human


Surgeons at the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC, Baltimore, USA) have performed the second transplant using a genetically modified pig heart into a patient deemed ineligible for heart transplant.

The procedure, involving a 58-year-old patient with terminal heart disease took place on 20 September.

The first surgery, performed in January, 2022, was conducted on David Bennett, a 57-year-old patient with terminal heart disease, who lived for a further two months after his procedure. According to the researchers, Bennett’s cause of death was heart failure, which they said was likely caused by a “complex array of factors” and there were no signs that the heart was rejected by his body.

The new patient, Lawrence Faucette, had end-stage heart disease. He was deemed ineligible for a traditional transplant with a human heart, by UMMC and several other transplant hospitals, due to his pre-existing peripheral vascular disease and complications with internal bleeding.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency approval for the surgery on 15 September through its single patient investigational new drug (IND) “compassionate use” pathway.

“We are once again offering a dying patient a shot at a longer life, and we are incredibly grateful to Mr Faucette for his bravery and willingness to help advance our knowledge of this field,” said Bartley P Griffith, who surgically transplanted the pig heart into both the first and second patient at UMMC. Griffith is the Thomas E. and Alice Marie Hales Distinguished Professor in Transplant Surgery and Clinical Director of the Cardiac Xenotransplantation Program at UMSOM. “We are hopeful that he will get home soon to enjoy more time with his wife and the rest of his loving family.”


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