Science Ticker

First GM Pig to Human Heart Transplant

57 year old David Bennett is the first patient to receive a full heart transplant from a genetically modified pig. Bennett, who has terminal heart disease and who was not eligible for a donor transplant, is recovering days after the surgery.

The pig had been modified to knock out genes that would have resulted in organ rejection. Bennett is still on immunosuppressants to prevent rejection, but it is too soon to tell whether the procedure will be successful long term.

Bennett's doctors were allowed special dispensation to perform the procedure since the patient had no other treatment options. While pig heart valves have been used before, this is the first full heart transplant.

With over 100,000 people on the organ transplant waiting list in the US alone, scientists hope to someday find viable alternatives to human donors. Bennett's case is a promising step toward that goal.

For more, head over to BBC.com.