Doctors May Use Pig Hearts For Human Transplants

Posted: Apr 6 2016, 8:06am CDT | by , Updated: Apr 6 2016, 9:43pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News

Doctors May Use Pig Hearts for Human Transplants
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  • Pig Hearts Can be Used for Human Transplants
  • Pig hearts kept alive in baboons for more than 2 years

Scientists have been experimenting and they have found that a pig heart may be used in the future to save human beings who have cardiac problems.

A baboon has managed to survive with a pig’s heart inside it for a record 2 year time span. This is a miracle of modern times. The baboon had its own faulty heart beating away in its chest. Yet it also had a pig’s heart attached inside its viscera and that also beat in tune with its own native biological heart.

This study was published in the journal Nature Communications and will go a long way in providing evidence for future organ transplants. It seems that pig organs could replace human limbs and other organs with ease.

This nearly impossible task was made a fact via genetic engineering and lots of medicines. Researchers at NIH were able to keep pig hearts beating within the bodies of five baboons for an average time span of 298 days.

A pig’s heart was attached to a baboon’s circulation. The foreign heart was kept pumping via a plethora of drugs that induced it to beat incessantly. These donor pigs were also genetically changed so that their organs matched with human visceral components.

Previously, these baboons had managed to last a total of 500 days. Now, they were able to live for 945 days. That’s indeed a giant leap for biology. The next step for scientists is to completely replace a baboon’s heart with a pig’s heart and feed that heart a ton of drugs in the form of a cocktail.

As for the step after this one, it will be to replace a human heart with a genetically modified pig’s heart. That will be the ultimate miracle in terms of medical wonderment and wizardry.

This procedure (if it is successful) will likely spell the end of any dearth of transplant organs for human beings. The shortage will have been overcome.

Almost 8000 people end up six feet under annually due to not having received organ transplants in the nick of time. Scientists did look into animal transplants (a process known as xenotransplanting) earlier yet it was not very successful.

But with the future coming at us at breakneck speed, the methods of analysis have broken the animal-human barrier. Whereas in the 60s, when animal-human transplants occurred, the human beings died shortly afterwards, today such is not the case.

The human beings manage to survive for much longer periods. With the use of anti-rejection drugs, animal transplants can be fitted comfortably into the context of human bodies.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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