(ANSA) - WASHINGTON, 10 JAN - First successful transplant of the heart of a genetically modified pig on a man. Photo by David Bennett Sr, 57, residing in Maryland.
The operation, writes the New York Times, lasted eight hours and was performed in Baltimore. The new organ "creates the beat, creates the pressure, is his heart," said Dr. BartleyGriffith, director of the clinician's transplant program, author of the intervention. "It works and looks normal but we don't know what's going to happen tomorrow, it's never been done before," he added.
The man in question had a life-threatening heart disease.
The potential breakthrough could one day lead to the provision of animal organs to be transplanted into patients.
Last year, some 41,354 Americans received an organ transplant - more than half of their kidney, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing, a nonprofit that coordinates national efforts to procure organs.
But there is a great shortage, so much so that about a dozen people on the list die every day.
Scientists have worked feverishly to develop pigs whose organs are not rejected by the human body, and research has accelerated over the past decade thanks to new technologies of genetic editing and cloning.