Researchers have successfully transplanted genetically modified pig hearts into two recently deceased people.
"Our goal is to integrate the methods usedin a normal, everyday heart transplant, with only a non-human organ that would function normally without additional help from unproven devices or drugs," said Nader Moazami, director of the Heart Transplant Unit at NYU Langone Transplant Institute.
The team performed the transplant on June 16 and July 9,and each recipient was followed up for three days. During this time, the hearts functioned normally, and there were no signs of rejection from the recipients, who were put on ventilators to keep their body processes functioning semi-regularly even after death.
Two pig hearts were obtained frombiotechnology company Revivicor, which produces genetically modified pigs (and also funded the study). The pigs had 10 genetic modifications - four to block pig genes and prevent rejection, and six to add human genes.