|[Published: Sunday August 18 2019]
Surgeon considering pig hearts for humans
LONDON 18 Aug (ANA) - Pig hearts may be adapted for human use within three years in a breakthrough move that could clear the UK donor list, a leading surgeon has said.
Sir Terence English, who performed Britain's first ever successful heart transplant, said his mentee from the 1979 operation will try to replace a human kidney with a pigs before the end of the year.
He believes this could pave the way for more complicated organ transplants in the process called 'xenotransplantation'.
Sir Terence (pictured) believes this could pave the way for more complicated organ transplants in the process called 'xenotransplantation'
Sir Terence told the Sunday Telegraph: 'If the result of xenotransplantation is satisfactory with porcine kidneys to humans then it is likely that hearts would be used with good effects in humans within a few years.
'If it works with a kidney, it will work with a heart. That will transform the issue.'
The demand for donor organs for transplantation outweighs the supply, with 280 people in the UK waiting for a heart.
It has been suggested the supply of human donor organs could be substituted with those taken from animals or those grown independently in the lab.
Pig organs could be a good choice for transplantation into human patients, as their organs tend to be similar in size.
Professor Christoper McGregor, who was the senior registrar for Sir Terence 40 years ago today when they operated on Keith Castle, has made two 'knock-out' genes that may allow pigs organs to be used in humans.
The transplantation of a healthy heart from one animal into the body of another species is known as xenotransplantation.
It has long been heralded as a potential avenue to cure people suffering with life-limiting and life-threatening cardiac conditions.
Waiting lists for transplants from dead, or allogenic, donors is growing as life expectancy increases around the world.
Many chronic conditions result in death if a transplant is not successful.
The World Health Organisation define it as: 'Living cells, tissues or organs of animal origin and human body fluids, cells, tissues or organs that have with these living, xenogeneic materials, has the potential to constitute an alternative to material of human origin and bridge the shortfall in human material for transplantation.'
A statement from the WHO also urges Member States to ensure effective national regulatory control and surveillance mechanisms before allowing xenogeneic transplantation to take place.
It can be extremely dangerous to patients as the natural immune response from the body often rejects the organ.(ANA)
FA/ANA/18 August 2019-----