American doctors successfully transplant a pig’s heart into a human
Recently, doctors have transplanted a pig’s heart after the first genetic change in a last-ditch effort to save the life of a human. It is a hyper-experimental surgery performed using animal organs for this life-saving transplant.
- This surgery will give rise to new possibilities to solve the shortage of human organs.
- Health experts have long shown interest in xenotransplantation to make up for shortages in organs.
- Xenotransplantation involves the transplant, implant or infusion of living cells, tissues, or organs from an animal into a human. Most of the pigs are being used in xenotransplantation, because their organs are physiologically similar to those of humans. Additionally, they are more amenable to genetic modifications.
- Medical implications: Organs donated by a person are sometimes not accepted by the recipient person’s body. Such exposure is more likely with animal organs.
- Animal rights: Many animal rights groups oppose modifying the genes of animals for such transplants.
- Religion: Some religions have strict rules regarding animals. This can make such transplants difficult for patients.
- Ethical issues: Obtaining consent by giving information is very difficult. Also, clinical trials on humans are not justified, as the technology is still in the developing stage.
Genetically modified pigs as organ donors
Genetically modified cells of pigs are created by adding and removing genes with gene-editing techniques.
This process is used to create embryos. The genetically modified pig cell is grown in a controlled and biologically sealed environment. The organ is removed from the adult pig and implanted in the patient.
The patient has to take immunosuppressant drugs to prevent his body from rejecting the new organ.
Source – The Hindu