Surgeons transplant pig heart in humanDate: 17 January 2022 Tags: Miscellaneous
For the first time ever, doctors have managed to transplant heart of a genetically modified pig into a human body.
The patient was ineligible for a conventional or artificial heart due to his medical conditions. Heart from a pig was a last shot.
Transplanting organs across different species is known as Xenotransplantation. The experiment first took place in 1984 when a baby received a baboon heart.
The surgery was a success but the baby could not survive owing to the rejection by her body’s immune system.
However, since many years, pig heart valves have been used to replace damaged human valves.
Need for genetically engineered pig
The pig was genetically modified to make at least 10 genetic modifications that are needed to prevent rapid rejection of foreign organs by the human body.
GalSafe pigs were used in the surgery. The pig had undergone genetic modification to remove gene that codes for Alpha-gal (a sugar molecule), which can elicit a devastating immune response in humans.
Modifications in pig
Carbohydrate antigens were eliminated by removing of the CMAH and Beta-4-Gal genes of the pig.
To maintain a human-sized organ, the growth hormone receptor gene was also removed.
Two human anti-coagulant genes (EPCR and Thrombomodulin), and two human immune-modulating genes (CD47 and HO1) were inserted.
If Xenotransplantation becomes successful in the long run, it would provide humans alternative source for damaged body organs.