A U.S. man with terminal heart disease was implanted with a genetically modified pig heart in a first-of-its-kind surgery, and three days later the patient is doing well, his doctors reported on Monday.
The surgery, performed by a team at the University of Maryland Medicine, is among the first to demonstrate the feasibility of a pig-to-human heart transplant, a field made possible by new gene editing tools.
If proven successful, scientists hope pig organs could help alleviate shortages of donor organs.
“This was a breakthrough surgery and brings us one step closer to solving the organ shortage crisis. There are simply not enough donor human hearts available to meet the long list of potential recipients,” Dr. Bartley Griffith, who surgically transplanted the pig heart into the patient, said in a statement.