The second person in the world to receive a pig heart has passed away six weeks after the surgery.
The individual who received the second pig heart transplant in the world passed away this week, approximately six weeks after the surgery was performed.
On September 20, Lawrence Faucette, who was 58 years old, underwent a heart transplant from a genetically modified pig due to his terminal heart disease. Unfortunately, he passed away on October 30.
It is with great sadness that we remember Mr. Faucette, an exceptional individual who was not only a patient, but also a scientist, Navy veteran, and devoted family man. He simply wished for more time to be with his beloved wife, sons, and family. These heartfelt words were shared by Bartley Griffith, the surgeon who conducted the transplant at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, in a memorial note.
Faucette, a father of two, was a lab technician at the National Institutes of Health before retiring. He is currently undergoing physical therapy to regain his ability to walk after surgery.
In a message accompanying Griffith’s, his wife Ann Faucette stated that he was aware of his limited time with us and saw it as his final opportunity to help others. He never expected to live as long as he did.
In the previous year, Griffith’s group conducted the initial pig heart transplant with genetic modification on David Bennett, a 57-year-old handyman with severe heart failure. Unfortunately, Bennett passed away two months later due to further heart failure. Although there were no indications of rejection in the weeks after the transplant, a case study revealed that Bennett may have become more susceptible to organ rejection due to antibodies produced by his immune system. In addition, the heart showed evidence of porcine cytomegalovirus, a dormant virus found in pigs, which could have played a role in complications during the transplant.
Muhammad Mohiuddin, a professor of surgery and the scientific program director of the cardiac xenotransplantation program at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said in a statement alongside Griffith and Ann Faucette that the school will “conduct an extensive analysis to identify factors that can be prevented in future transplants” as was done “with the first patient, David Bennett Sr”.
Mohiuddin also gave thanks to Faucette and his family for their support in our progress towards achieving successful xenotransplantation.
According to him, Mr. Faucette was a scientist who not only analyzed and explained his own biopsies, but also comprehended the significant impact he was making in advancing this area.
Xenotransplantation, which involves transferring cells, tissues, and organs from animals to humans, is a cutting-edge medical area focused on addressing the shortage of available organs. Due to their severe heart disease, Faucette and Bennett were unable to receive conventional transplants using organs from deceased humans. Instead, they received genetically modified pig hearts that were better adapted for human recipients, thanks to a gene deletion process that prevents the pig heart from growing.
Over 100,000 individuals in the United States are currently registered on the national organ transplant waiting list. Every 10 minutes, an additional person is added to this list. The most highly sought after organ for transplant is the kidney, as 85% of patients on the waiting list require a kidney transplant.