After two months, the first person with a genetically modified pig heart die1 min read
According to the University of Maryland Medical Centre (UMMC), a 57-year-old man with fatal heart disease who made history as the first human to receive a genetically modified pig’s heart died on Tuesday.
On January 7, David Bennett received the transplant.
His condition began to deteriorate some days ago, according to the hospital, and he was given “compassionate palliative care” once it became evident that he would not recover.
Dr Bartley Griffith, head of the UMCC cardiac transplant programme, said in a videotaped statement that Bennett “wasn’t able to overcome what turned out to be the catastrophic debilitation” caused by the heart failure he had before the transplant.
Bennett was ruled ineligible for a standard heart transplant. He was given a pig heart that had been genetically engineered to prevent rejection. Previous attempts at pig-to-human transplants have failed because to genetic differences. “The showing that it is doable – that we were able to take a genetically designed organ and see it work flawlessly”, Griffith adds, is “quite encouraging”. Bennett arrived to UMMC in October as a patient and was placed on a heart-lung bypass machine, but he was ruled unfit for a traditional heart transplant.