The second person who received a foreign organ has died in the United States
The second patient with a transplanted pig heart died last Monday in the United States, six weeks after the operation. This was reported by the University of Maryland Medical Center. Russian biologist from the Institute of General Genetics of the Russian Academy of Sciences Sergei Kiselev explained what this could be connected with.
Photo: University of Maryland School of Medicine
“We are saddened by the passing of Mr. Fawcett, a wonderful patient,” said Dr. Bartley P. Griffith, who performed the surgery. “He was a Navy veteran who wanted to live with his family a little longer.”
A heart transplant is a surgical procedure to replace a patient's heart with a donor's heart. It is indicated for severe diseases in which other operations are impossible or extremely risky. In this case, your own heart can be removed or left.
Currently, hearts from human donors are successfully transplanted in various clinics around the world. This has become a fairly routine operation, after which on average patients live more than 10 years. The world record for life expectancy with a heart transplant is held by Tony Huseman – he lived with a heart transplant for more than 30 years and died of skin cancer.
Doctors resorted to animal heart transplants due to a shortage of donor organs; this first happened in 1964. The chimpanzee's heart was then transplanted into James Hardy. The patient died an hour and a half after the operation.
In 2022, Americans transplanted a pig's heart into a human for the first time. David Bennett, 57, consented to the experiment because the severity of the disease made a human organ transplant impossible. Alas, Bennett died two months later, in March last year.
His follower, who also received a pig heart, lived two weeks less. Lawrence Fawcett, 58, was doing well after surgery, “doing physical therapy, spending time with family and playing cards with his wife,” the clinic said in a statement. However, in recent days he began to show signs of rejection of the new organ. Fossett died on October 30.
– I don’t know in detail why the second patient died… Regarding the first, there was a report that the cause of rejection could have been porcine cytomegalovirus in the transplanted heart.
– The virus was endogenous , so it was not possible to get rid of it. This was not an ordinary heart, but the heart of a genome-edited pig, in which all known endogenous viral sequences were removed and modifications were made to bring it as immunologically as close to a human as possible. However, the cytomegalovirus still remains.
– I know that the Chinese are actively working in this direction, but, unlike the Americans, they are not very willing to share information.
– No, unfortunately. I think that the failures that are now plaguing American scientists are normal for the development of such a complex area of science. And the usual transplantation (from person to person) was not successful the first time. As for transplanting pig hearts, there are problems with biocompatibility, which each time need to be analyzed and discussed in the scientific community.