Revolutionary medical intervention returned to Maryland on January 7. After many decades of research, the local heart surgeons managed to successfully transplant a genetically modified pig heart into a human patient. What a big step for humanity?
Hostem I’m asking was a Brno cardiologist, physician and scientist Tomáš Kára.
“We are witnessing a historic moment. Not only in the history of medicine, but in the history of mankind. Thanks to the results of xenotransplant research, it was possible for the first time to modify the human heart to save lives. This is a breakthrough moment, “Kára describes the intervention that occurred in early January in the United States, which people and people who give hope that they need a transplant will receive, perhaps in time in the future, the time they often wait for today.
The Brno doctor, together with other Czech experts, is satisfied with research into xenotransplantation – a process in which a non-functional tissue or organ is replaced by a healthy one or another tissue of another animal species. That is why I see the operation as a turning point for humanity.
“Just to give you an idea, the scope of the research that this procedure can be carried out will match the Apollo project, ie the manned flight to the moon, with its scope, professional and financial demands,” said the cardiologist.
The first experiments with tissue transplantation of other human species took place in the 1990s. However, a significant shift in pig organ transplantation came after scientists and doctors figured out how to modify the genetic code of special pig farming so that their hearts resemble human hearts, making pig organs easier for the human body. This marked a turning point, which was reversed in the experimental transplantation of pig hearts treated in this way into experimental animals. The new organs have taken over, they have started working, and the animals survive for weeks and months after the operation.
According to Tomáš Kara, however, it is difficult to predict how much the organ modified in this way will prolong the life of 55-year-old David Bennett, who was transplanted as the first person. “It was the only option for him because he could not undergo a routine heart transplant, and even according to the doctors who performed the xenotransplantation, the so-called mechanical cardiac support could not be implanted. When we realize this, the fact that the patient is alive on the ninth day and his heart is working is an incredible result, ”explains the expert.
However, the Brno cardiologist says that modified tissues of other species are already used in other areas than cardiology. For example, biological skin created with modified pigs is being tested experimentally with great success in patients with severe burns, and there is also great hope for the replacement of individual cells that may have helped, for example, in the treatment of type 1 diabetes. “And the question is the use of organs other than the heart, such as the kidneys, the liver, the lungs come into play,” says the expert. The development of a new generation of biological heart valves is also in the sights.
And the research outlook for the coming years? “I hope that xenotransplantation will start to be used in most medical fields. In cardiology, I believe that in about 15 years we will still have a classic transplant, advanced mechanical heart support for the treatment of heart failure, but that xenotransplantation will be a routine method and it will be possible for each patient to choose the option that is best for him, “he adds. Cart.
I’m asking. Podcast News List. Interviews with people who have influence, responsibility, information.