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A Baboon Has Lived With A Transplanted Pig Heart For Over 6 Months



Take a step back, Frankenstein. A baboon has survived for over six months after receiving a transplanted pig heart with the help of some revolutionary genetic modifications, marking a big step forward towards the possibility of transplanting pig organs to humans in the not too distant future . [19659002] In a laboratory at the University of Munich, Germany, five baboons received hearts of transplanted pigs using a new method. Unfortunately, one died less than two months due to complications, but two managed to live perfectly healthy for three months, with another survivor for exactly six months. The last baboon lived for more than six months, before being suppressed.

As you can imagine, xenotransplantation (transplantation between different species) can cause a violent response from the immune system, leading to rejecting the organs. However, a new approach helped to overcome it. As reported in the journal Nature on Wednesday, the hearts had belonged to pigs undergoing modification of the CRISPR-Cas9 gene to reduce the risk of an aggressive immune response.

"The potential for solving the shortage of human hearts available for transplanting using pig hearts has been an aspiration for scientists for more than 40 years, but it turned out to be a difficult journey," commented Professor Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, who was not directly involved in the new study.

"The greatest obstacle is the rapid rejection of the pig's heart by the human immune system, which was largely overcome by the development of genetically modified pigs, which subsequently reduced this complication."

Scientists have sought to pull off this business first, only that the baboons died after only 57 days. Another step forward was done in 201

6 when researchers implanted a pig heart in a baboon, but the organ remained non-functional with the original heart still functioning.

So, the next step could be the pig-to-human organ transplantation? Not really, but this new research is certainly heading in that direction.

The need for heart donors far exceeds supply from human sources, especially in the United States and Europe, where heart disease is particularly common. But if doctors used hearts of genetically modified pigs, the question could easily be met. However, there are still many obstacles to overcome before it becomes reality.

"This new research brings us closer to the use of pig hearts in humans," added Professor Pearson. "However, the results do not yet meet the need for larger, longer-term studies before the first pig heart is transplanted into a human being.

" To be seriously considered for use in humans , studies should demonstrate greater success than a mechanical pumping device and ensure that potential safety complications due to viral transmission from the transplanted heart to the recipient can be discounted. "[19659015] window.fbAsyncInit = function () {
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