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David Bennett Sr.-The Man Who Got The First Pig Heart Transplant Died After 2 Months

Following the pioneering experiment, which took place two months ago, The Man Who Got The First Pig Heart Transplant has died, according to the Maryland institution that performed the procedure. David Bennett, 57, passed away on Tuesday at the University of Maryland Medical Center in College Park, Maryland.

Blue surgeon dress-wearing surgeons operating a man and one surgeon holding a heart
Blue surgeon dress-wearing surgeons operating a man and one surgeon holding a heart

Despite the fact that David Bennett Sr., the man who got the first pig heart transplant that had been genetically modified, the procedure may still offer hope to the millions of Americans who are in need of heart transplants.

After two months of recuperation, the first person to have his failing heart replaced with that of a genetically altered pig passed away on Tuesday afternoon at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

David Bennett Sr., a resident of Maryland, died at the age of 57. The patient, who had severe heart disease, agreed to receive the experimental pig's heart after being turned down for human heart transplants on several occasions.

It was not clear whether his body had rejected the organ that had been transplanted. In a statement from the hospital, a spokeswoman said, “At the time of his death, there was no obvious cause identified.”

In response to further questions about the cause of death, hospital officials stated that they were unable to do so until his doctors had finished their investigation.

The findings will be published in a medical journal that has undergone peer review.

Mr. Bennett's death, according to Dr. Bartley Griffith, the transplant surgeon who performed the procedure, has left the hospital's staff "devastated."

In the words of Dr. Griffith, “He proved to be a brave and noble patient who fought until the very end,” Dr. Griffith said. “Mr. Bennett became known to millions of people all over the world for his bravery and unwavering will to live.”

It was one of several groundbreaking procedures carried out in recent months that used organs from genetically altered pigs to replace organs in humans. The heart transplant was the most recent of these.

Xenotransplantation, which is performed because of a severe scarcity of donated organs, gives hope to tens of thousands of patients who have failed kidneys, hearts, and other organs through the procedure.

When Mr. Bennett's transplant was first performed, it was thought to be a success.

Despite this, it is still considered a significant step forward because the pig's heart was not rejected immediately and continued to function for well over a month, passing a critical milestone for transplant patients.

Approximately 41,354 Americans received transplanted organs in the United States last year, with kidneys accounting for more than half of those recipients, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing, a non-profit organization that coordinates the nation's organ procurement efforts.

Organs, on the other hand, are in short supply, and every day, a dozen or more people on waiting lists pass away.

Last year, approximately 3,800 Americans received human donor hearts as replacements, which was a record-breaking number, but the demand for donors' hearts continues to be high.

As a result of the development of new gene editing and cloning technologies in the last decade, scientists have been attempting to create pigs whose organs would not be rejected by the human body. This research effort has gained traction in recent years.

A kidney grown in a genetically altered pig and transplanted into a brain-dead human patient was successfully attached to the patient in October, with the surgeons discovering that the organ functioned normally and produced urine for 54 hours.

Surgery students at the University of Alabama at Birmingham reported in January that they had successfully transplanted kidneys from a genetically modified pig into the abdomen of a 57-year-old man who was brain dead for the first time in the United States' history.

The kidneys worked hard and produced urine for three days straight.

Doctors at the University of Alabama at Birmingham say they hope to begin a small clinical trial with live human patients by the end of the year.

According to the Washington Post, shortly after Mr. Bennett's heart surgery in January, he had a criminal record stemming from an assault 34 years ago in which he repeatedly stabbed a young man, paralyzing him as a result of his jealous rage.

David Bennett and his son in the operation  room
David Bennett and his son in the operation room

Leslie Shumaker Downey of Frederick, Maryland, the victim's sister, says Edward Shumaker spent two decades in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down, and suffered numerous medical complications, including a stroke that left him cognitively impaired, before passing away in 2007 at the age of forty.

Mr. Bennett's son, David Bennett Jr., who was a child at the time of the stabbing, has stated that he does not wish to discuss his father's past, instead emphasizing that his father was contributing to medical science by undergoing the experimental transplant, which he hoped would “potentially save patient lives in the future." Mr. Bennett's son, David Bennett Jr., has stated that he does not wish to discuss his father's past.

In the case of Mr. Bennett, the heart came from a genetically altered pig provided by Revivor, a regenerative medicine company with headquarters in Blacksburg, Virginia.

A total of ten genetic modifications were made to the pig heart.

Four genes were deleted or inactivated, one of which encodes a protein that induces an aggressive human rejection reaction, and the other three genes were deleted or inactivated.

Also switched off was a gene that was necessary to prevent the pig's heart from developing during the implantation procedure.

Six human genes were also put into the genome of the donor pig in order to make the pig's organs more acceptable to the human immune system after the pig's organs were harvested.

On New Year's Eve, the Food and Drug Administration approved an emergency license for the experimental procedure, which was carried out a week later.

Initially, the transplanted heart operated excellently, with no evidence of rejection for many weeks after the procedure.

The hospital's staff stated that Mr. Bennett spent time with his family, attended physical therapy sessions, and watched the Super Bowl.

According to hospital officials, he was not discharged, and his condition began to deteriorate a few days after that. He remains in the hospital.

His son issued a statement in which he expressed gratitude to the hospital and its employees for their relentless efforts on his father's behalf.

“We hope that this story is just the beginning of hope,” Mr. Bennett said. “We also hope that what we learned from his surgery will help future patients and, hopefully, one day, put an end to the organ shortage that claims so many lives every year.”

The reason for the death of a pig heart transplant patient:

According to a spokesman for the company,

His body may have rejected the organ after it was transplanted, but it was unclear at the time of his death. "At the time of his death, there was no obvious cause identified."

Dr. Dhaniram Baruah successfully transplanted the heart of a pig into the body of a 32-year-old man. As a consequence of the successful procedure, the patient was able to survive for an additional seven days following the heart transplant.

However, the patient was suffering from several illnesses, which made it impossible to save his life. In reality, the patient had a hole in the lower chamber of the heart, which is referred to as a ventricular septal defect (VSD).

A variety of infections arose as a result of the patient's condition.

Following the past transplants and experiences, physicians are considering a ventricular septal defect, which finally led to a range of infections, which ultimately resulted in the death of the guy who had a pig heart transplant.

In addition to the above-mentioned readings, this is the Indian doctor who was imprisoned 25 years ago for performing a PIG heart transplant on a human in Assam, according to the current record.

What Factors Influence The Decision To Use Pig Hearts For Transplantation?

It has long been a dream of transplant doctors to be able to use organs and tissues from multiple species (xenotransplantation).

Clinicians have dreamed for years that animal organs will one day be transplanted into human beings. There have been several unsuccessful attempts to transplant nonhuman primates' kidneys, livers, and hearts into humans between the 1970s and the 1990s. Some of these kidneys continued to function for months after transplantation, however, the great majority of primate organs failed after a few months of being transplanted owing to rejection or surgical problems.

When xenotransplantation became popular again in the early 1990s, it sparked a renaissance of interest. Primates, on the other hand, were not widely used as source animals at the period.

Due to the significant risk of viral transmission and the fact that the bulk of the bigger primates was on the endangered species list, this decision was made in order to protect the species.

Pigs, on the other hand, were considered to be the ideal animal for a variety of reasons.

Pig organs are physically equivalent to human organs, and pigs may be found in a variety of sizes, including miniature pigs.

The litter size of pigs is big, and they are quite easy to breed.

Because millions of pigs are slaughtered for human sustenance each year, there should be no ethical qualms with utilizing pig organs to heal human sickness.

However, there are some concerns about the use of pig organs to cure human illness.

Aside from that, there was the issue of the pig being genetically altered.

David Bennett wearing a nose pipe in the operation and a doctor wearing a mask
David Bennett wearing a nose pipe in the operation and a doctor wearing a mask

What Is A Pig Xenotransplantation?

Pig organs are attractive candidates for transplant since they are similar in size and physiology to human organs and would be easily available when needed. Cross-species (pig-to-human) transplantation is referred to as xenotransplantation, and the transplanted organs or tissues are referred to as xenografts.

Conclusion

Using pig organs and cells for human transplantation will eventually change the industry. Human organs from living or dying donors will be rendered obsolete in the not-too-distant future.

The use of pig organs allows for rejection to be avoided, at least in part, due to the animal's genetic mutation.

I hope you now understand the death of the man who got the first pig heart transplant.

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