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A man in the United States has received a genetically modified pig heart during a transplant in Maryland.

Reports say the 57-year-old is doing well three days after receiving a genetically modified pig heart in first-of-its-kind transplant surgery.

In a statement released by the University of Maryland Medicine, it said that David Bennet had terminal heart disease and the pig heart was “the only currently available option”. After reviews of his medical records, Bennet was denied a conventional heart transplant or an artificial heart pump.

The emergency authorisation was granted by the US Food and Drug Administration before the surgery on 31 December.

Three genes that are responsible for the rejection of pig organs by human immune systems were removed from the donor pig, and one gene was taken out to prevent excessive pig heart tissue growth. Six human genes responsible for immune acceptance were inserted, reports CNN.

Doctors have been transplanting pig organs and heart valves into humans for years already, but this is the first genetically modified pig heart. A genetically modified pig kidney was transplanted into a brain-dead woman in New York last October.

While it’s too early to say if Bennet’s transplant was successful, doctors are cautiously optimistic.

Image credit: New York Post

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