Scientific achievements usually raise big new questions, and the remarkable surgery that took place on January 7, when Maryland resident David Bennett was transplanted with a genetically modified heart from a pig, has been no different.
The 57-year-old with end-stage heart failure had been repeatedly turned down for a standard transplant and was judged a poor candidate for a ventricular assist device. Now his new heart is beating soundly and apparently accepted by his immune system as Bennett, his physicians at the University of Maryland where the procedure took place, and indeed the world set out on a journey with far more unknowns than knowns.
“I think even just a couple of years ago, people felt that xenotransplantation for the heart and other organs was still a long way off. And it seems like it’s started to move very quickly,” Larry A. Allen, MD, MHS, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, told theheart.org | Medscape Cardiology.