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posted by martyb on Thursday March 10 2022, @08:25PM   Printer-friendly
from the ripped-out dept.

A man who got the 1st pig heart transplant has died after 2 months

The first person to receive a heart transplant from a pig has died, two months after the groundbreaking experiment, the Maryland hospital that performed the surgery announced Wednesday.

David Bennett, 57, died Tuesday at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Doctors didn't give an exact cause of death, saying only that his condition had begun deteriorating several days earlier.

[...] Prior attempts at such transplants — or xenotransplantation — have failed largely because patients' bodies rapidly rejected the animal organ. This time, the Maryland surgeons used a heart from a gene-edited pig: Scientists had modified the animal to remove pig genes that trigger the hyper-fast rejection and add human genes to help the body accept the organ.

At first the pig heart was functioning, and the Maryland hospital issued periodic updates that Bennett seemed to be slowly recovering. Last month, the hospital released video of him watching the Super Bowl from his hospital bed while working with his physical therapist.

Bennett survived significantly longer with the gene-edited pig heart than one of the last milestones in xenotransplantation — when Baby Fae, a dying California infant, lived 21 days with a baboon's heart in 1984.

[...] One next question is whether scientists have learned enough from Bennett's experience and some other recent experiments with gene-edited pig organs to persuade the FDA to allow a clinical trial — possibly with an organ such as a kidney that isn't immediately fatal if it fails.

Previously: Surgeons Smash Records With Pig-to-Primate Organ Transplants
Surgeons Successfully Transplant Genetically Modified Pig Heart Into Human Patient


Original Submission

Related Stories

Surgeons Smash Records With Pig-to-Primate Organ Transplants 26 comments

Donated human organs are in such short supply that thousands of people die waiting for one every year. U.S. researchers have been shattering records in xenotransplantation, or between-species organ transplants.

The researchers say they have kept a pig heart alive in a baboon for 945 days and also reported the longest-ever kidney swap between these species, lasting 136 days. The experiments used organs from pigs "humanized" with the addition of as many as five human genes, a strategy designed to stop organ rejection.

The GM pigs are being produced in Blacksburg, Virginia, by Revivicor, a division of the biotechnology company United Therapeutics. That company's founder and co-CEO, Martine Rothblatt, is a noted futurist who four years ago began spending millions to supply researchers with pig organs and has quickly become the largest commercial backer of xenotransplantation research.

Rothblatt says her goal is to create "an unlimited supply of transplantable organs" and to carry out the first successful pig-to-human lung transplant within a few years. One of her daughters has a usually fatal lung condition called pulmonary arterial hypertension. In addition to GM pigs, her company is carrying out research on tissue-engineered lungs and cryopreservation of organs. "We're turning xenotransplantation from what looked like a kind of Apollo-level problem into just an engineering task," she says.


Original Submission

Surgeons Successfully Transplant Genetically Modified Pig Heart Into Human Patient 18 comments

Man Gets Genetically-Modified Pig Heart in World-First Transplant

Man gets genetically-modified pig heart in world-first transplant

A US man has become the first person in the world to get a heart transplant from a genetically-modified pig. David Bennett, 57, is doing well three days after the experimental seven-hour procedure in Baltimore, doctors say.

The transplant was considered the last hope of saving Mr Bennett's life, though it is not yet clear what his long-term chances of survival are.

"It was either die or do this transplant," Mr Bennett explained a day before the surgery.

"I know it's a shot in the dark, but it's my last choice," he said.

Doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center were granted a special dispensation by the US medical regulator to carry out the procedure, on the basis that Mr Bennett would otherwise have died.

[...] He had been deemed ineligible for a human transplant, a decision that is often taken by doctors when the patient is in very poor health.

Pig Heart Transplant Failure: Doctors Detail Everything That Went Wrong 5 comments

https://arstechnica.com/science/2022/06/pig-heart-transplant-failed-as-its-heart-muscle-cells-died/

Earlier this year, news broke of the first experimental xenotransplantation: A human patient with heart disease received a heart from a pig that had been genetically engineered to avoid rejection. While initially successful, the experiment ended two months later when the transplant failed, leading to the death of the patient. At the time, the team didn't disclose any details regarding what went wrong. But this week saw the publication of a research paper that goes through everything that happened to prepare for the transplant and the weeks following.

Critically, this includes the eventual failure of the transplant, which was triggered by the death of many of the muscle cells in the transplanted heart. But the reason for that death isn't clear, and the typical signs of rejection by the immune system weren't present. So, we're going to have to wait a while to understand what went wrong.

[...] The presence of an apparent pig cytomegalovirus was worrying, but the researchers indicate there's some question about whether the tests that picked it up might have been recognizing a closely related human virus—one that's often associated with organ transplant problems.

So, for now, it's not clear what happened with this transplant or what the significance of the apparent viral infection is. Obviously, the team has lots of material to work with to try to figure out what went on, and there's a long, long list of potential experiments to do with it. And there are also additional xenotransplant trials in the works, so it may not be long before we have a better sense of whether this was something specific to this transplant or a general risk of xenotransplantation.

Previously:
Man Who Received a Heart Transplant From a Pig Has Died


Original Submission

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  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 10 2022, @09:07PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 10 2022, @09:07PM (#1228374)

    He was Muslim.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 10 2022, @09:19PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 10 2022, @09:19PM (#1228379)

      +1 Haram, dude.

  • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday March 10 2022, @10:12PM (7 children)

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday March 10 2022, @10:12PM (#1228400)

    Pig who donated heart to sick old man died immediately after the donation.

    (and that's not a bad thing, the pigs we used for medical research were literally supplied by Oscar Meyer and had a more pleasant end-of-life experience than their bacon-in-progress siblings.)

    --
    Україна досі не є частиною Росії. https://www.newsweek.com/russian-state-tv-ukraine-war-dirty-bomb-putin-1754428
    • (Score: 4, Funny) by stretch611 on Thursday March 10 2022, @11:21PM (5 children)

      by stretch611 (6199) Subscriber Badge on Thursday March 10 2022, @11:21PM (#1228425)

      Get a free slab of pork ribs and bacon with every heart transplant... what could possibly be wrong with that?

      --
      Now with 5 covid vaccine shots/boosters altering my DNA :P
      • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday March 11 2022, @12:12AM (3 children)

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday March 11 2022, @12:12AM (#1228439)

        I feel like the entire Tobacco industry takeover of the processed foods world was actually a next level conspiracy sponsored by the healthcare industry.

        --
        Україна досі не є частиною Росії. https://www.newsweek.com/russian-state-tv-ukraine-war-dirty-bomb-putin-1754428
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 11 2022, @01:14PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 11 2022, @01:14PM (#1228526)

          Birds fly, therefore the width of the human thumb is one three.

        • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Friday March 11 2022, @06:00PM (1 child)

          by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Friday March 11 2022, @06:00PM (#1228577) Homepage Journal

          The US is the only country where health care is an industry ruled by greedy capitalists. Health care should not be an industry.

          --
          Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
          • (Score: 4, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Friday March 11 2022, @06:46PM

            by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday March 11 2022, @06:46PM (#1228593)

            As a 31 year employee of the U.S. heathcare industry (medical device companies - greedy capitalists one and all), I am obviously biased, but do see some benefit from the capitalist model driving the standard of care forward. Without greedy capitalists investing in new healthcare technologies, many would never be developed, and some of them do end up being highly beneficial to more than just the investors.

            However, even from my perspective, the capitalist models employed in healthcare delivery: hospitals' administration, IMO AMA manufactured artificial scarcity of M.D.s elevating their "value" through lack of supply rather than increased quality of care, the farce of chargeable rates vs insurance vs private pay: more opaque and arbitrary than haggling in any old-world street market, pharma delivering products like oxycontin to market with a fig-leaf of patient benefit hiding a giant hard-on for profits, and many other aspects of care delivery are simply out of control - mostly driven by greed, multiplied by marketing, lobbying, barriers to access for competitive players, etc. If ever there were a system ripe for take-down, U.S. healthcare in the 2020s is it - well above AT&T in the 1980s, Standard Oil in 1911. Obviously, it's more complex than simple breakup of a monopoly, but the benefits going forward would be even more dramatic than those big monopoly breakups.

            If healthcare isn't reigned in, sooner or later the U.S. is going to have to choose between it and military spending.

            --
            Україна досі не є частиною Росії. https://www.newsweek.com/russian-state-tv-ukraine-war-dirty-bomb-putin-1754428
      • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Friday March 11 2022, @02:15PM

        by Phoenix666 (552) on Friday March 11 2022, @02:15PM (#1228532) Journal

        Yeah I think you're right that they're working at cross-purposes. They should give him a heart from a leaner animal like a chicken or a fish.

        --
        Washington DC delenda est.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 11 2022, @05:20AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 11 2022, @05:20AM (#1228494)

      It breaks my heart that you say this.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by bussdriver on Thursday March 10 2022, @11:24PM

    by bussdriver (6876) on Thursday March 10 2022, @11:24PM (#1228427)

    Cause of death: a pig's heart in his chest.

    FYI, 1st heart transplants didn't end well either.

  • (Score: 2) by oumuamua on Friday March 11 2022, @12:29AM

    by oumuamua (8401) on Friday March 11 2022, @12:29AM (#1228444)

    The Island, they solve these problems, not being sarcastic, really did like the movie
    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0399201/ [imdb.com]

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Phoenix666 on Friday March 11 2022, @02:17PM (2 children)

    by Phoenix666 (552) on Friday March 11 2022, @02:17PM (#1228533) Journal

    It's a pity. I was rooting for that patient. Using animals to grow organs for humans holds promise.

    --
    Washington DC delenda est.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 11 2022, @06:18PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 11 2022, @06:18PM (#1228588)
      I dunno, there's been progress in other options like 3d printed organs.

      The ones which would use the patient's own cells with maybe a neutral scaffolding might be less problematic than using a pig's heart.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 11 2022, @07:03PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 11 2022, @07:03PM (#1228598)

      It should be noted that he got the pig heart because he was too unhealthy to be considered for a human heart transplant.

  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 13 2022, @06:02AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 13 2022, @06:02AM (#1228858)
    Mr. Bennett would have died much sooner had he not received the transplant, so the fact that they got it working for so long is still a small victory. Hopefully they learn more so that they can make improvements that solve the problems they identify. It's how science progresses. If it were me I'd at least die knowing that my death at least contributed to the progress of science and that perhaps other people who need transplants in the future will benefit from the knowledge my death produced.
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