The First Patient Ever To Receive Genetically-altered Pig Heart Dies Two Months After Successful Transplant

David Bennett, 57, the first man to receive a transplant of a genetically altered pig heart has died two months after a successful transplant.

Bennett from Hagerstown Maryland died on Tuesday, at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

The cause of death was not revealed but doctors from the Maryland hospital that carried out the surgery told reporters on Wednesday, that his condition had deteriorated over the past several days.

Mr. Bennet received a groundbreaking transplant where the pig’s heart was genetically modified in a way that would prevent a human body from rejecting it.

Before the transplant, the man was already in a desperate condition but didn’t meet criteria to receive a normal, human heart transplant.

Bennett’s son praised the hospital for offering the last-ditch experiment, saying the family hoped it would help further efforts to end the organ shortage.

‘We are grateful for every innovative moment, every crazy dream, every sleepless night that went into this historic effort,’ David Bennett Jr. said in a statement .

‘We hope this story can be the beginning of hope and not the end,’ he said. ‘We pray that those looking for hope will continue to fight for the future, fight for new ideas, fight for answers, fight for life. Fight like Dave.’ 

‘We are devastated by the loss of Mr. Bennett. He proved to be a brave and noble patient who fought all the way to the end. We extend our sincerest condolences to his family,’ Dr. Bartley Griffith, the surgeon who led Bennett’s transplant said in a statement. ‘Mr. Bennett became known by millions of people around the world for his courage and steadfast will to live.’

Dr. Muhammad Mohiuddin, director of cardiac xenotransplantation at the University of Maryland Medical Center, said Bennett’s successful transplant has provided great insight for future procedures. 

‘We have gained invaluable insights learning that the genetically modified pig heart can function well within the human body while the immune system is adequately suppressed,’ he said in a statement.

‘We remain optimistic and plan on continuing our work in future clinical trials,’ he added.


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