Medicine The heart of a genetically modified pig was implanted in a convicted violent offender – pioneering organ transplants involve difficult ethical issues

The pig’s heart has been pounding in the patient’s chest for three weeks. “In God’s eyes, nothing is greater than saving a person’s life,” says another of the doctors who led the surgery.

Stateside was made at the beginning of the history of medicine when the human heart was first implanted in a pig.

A 57-year-old was undergoing experimental surgery on Friday, January 7th Dave Bennett received a body taken from a one-year-old male, as its last straw.

Because of his medical history, Bennett was not eligible for the actual transplant list. It is now 20 days since the operation. Doctors say the heart is working as expected and the patient is recovering.

From an animal some transplants have been performed on humans in the past.

The chimpanzee kidney and the baboon’s heart, among other things, have been transplanted to humans. These patients have not lived long.

However, medicine has progressed wildly. Now the pig that donated the heart had been genetically engineered so that the patient’s body would not reject the organ.

In addition, human genes had been transferred to the pig, meaning that its body had been modified in a certain way to be more human-like.

“People and animals become a bit like modeling wax when properties can be customized.”

Pioneering the experiment has re-launched the debate on whether animals could actually be used to breed human spare parts.

Ethical questions abound, and patient Bennett’s case in particular is so multifaceted that it is like a textbook on moral philosophy.

Is it right to tamper with a medicine pack that walks a human-minded animal out of a breast? On the other hand, will it end up being slaughtered for food?

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Does the animal suffer from genetic modification? Now the pig used in the experiment and its heart were deliberately smaller than normal to make the organ fit for humans.

It has also been considered how much extra time a patient can get with an organ transplant and what quality of life he or she can spend with strong anti-rejection medication. It has also been debated who deserves a valuable transplant.

After the operation, it has emerged in public that Bennett has neglected medical advice and has been convicted of a violent crime.

Ethics and moral philosophers scratch their heads at these questions. One of them is a researcher in bioethics at the University of Tampere Heikki Saxén.

“The pace over the last ten years has been really tough. There is a huge potential in genetic engineering. Humans and animals become a bit like modeling wax when traits can be customized,” Saxén paints.

“But at the same time, speed blindness can strike.”

The heart transplant news came as a surprise to Saxén, who follows the industry. It was not until October that researchers managed to transplant a kidney from a genetically modified pig into a human as well. The experiment was performed on a brain-dead patient, with the consent of relatives. The transfer was also reported by HS.

Suddenly in just a couple of months, the pig’s heart has been transplanted to man in the hope that the patient could actually live with the transplant.

The pigs used in the experiments are bred by Revivicor. The animals were thus already waiting for a suitable patient. Bennett, the terminally ill, was one, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration quickly granted an exemption.

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In such In such cases, there is no time to conduct clinical trials. It is not possible to know what happens to a pig with a heart transplant. Saxén wonders how to get enough research information on the matter.

“How many people should try transplants to comprehensively assess the potential benefits and risks?”

The patient participating in the experimental treatment thus jumps into the unknown. But why shouldn’t he take the risk?

Many cancer patients may be ready for experimental treatments as a last straw, but such may not be granted. There may be no evidence of efficacy and the pros and cons have not been fully weighed in the studies.

“There is a bit of a patronizing idea that people are protected so that nothing can be tried, even in a desperate situation. On the other hand, from a pharmaceutical company’s point of view, research in desperate patients can be easy.

On the deathbed man hardly has such ethical questions, and they are hardly considered by transplant patient Bennett either.

His heart was betraying, and the only option offered to him by the doctors was a pig’s heart. He was told that nothing similar had been done before. Bennett grabbed a straw.

Bennett was not eligible to get a human heart because he had not previously followed a doctor’s instructions and had not taken any medications prescribed to him.

“I wish my heart went to someone who deserves it”

Later it also turned out that in 1988 Bennett stabbed another man in the back of a jealousy frenzy seven times with the result that he was paralyzed. Bennett was sentenced to ten years in prison.

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Victim of stabbing Edward Shumaker died in 2005, only as a forty wheelchair patient. Shumaker’s little brother became depressed about the incident and in turn died of opioid overdose. It is known that Bennett has not paid the relatives ordered by the court.

“Now this man gets a second chance. I wish the heart had gone to someone who deserves it, ”mourns the brothers’ big sister Leslie Shumaker-Downey The Washington Post in an interview.

Bennett has suffered his conviction, and doctors cannot deny a person treatment based on past deeds. It is unclear whether Bennett’s criminal history was known. In any case, it must not be affected.

“The key thing in medicine is that everyone gets treatment no matter who they are,” says Professor of Bioethics Arthur Caplan From The University of New York at The Washington Post.

In the case is also a religious angle. Another of the doctors who led the transplant, Muhammad Mohiuddin, is a confessional Muslim. Growing up in Pakistan, Mohiuddin grew up in a tight community where mentioning the pig was already a curse word. So can a pig’s heart be transferred to a human?

“Couldn’t you use another animal,” ViceMohiuddin interviewed by the magazine says his father asked.

Mohiuddin sought advice from theologians and says he eventually received an answer:

“In the eyes of God, nothing is greater than saving a person’s life.”

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