Pig heart procedures advance xenotransplant study at NYU Langone Health

A team at NYU Langone Health recently transplanted two genetically engineered pig hearts into recently deceased humans to gather data on transplants between species and address a national organ shortage, the director of NYU Langone Transplant Institute said July 12.

Such research is made possible by whole-body donations, when organ donation is not an option, and is critical to advancing studies that had only been done using nonhuman primates until last year, Robert Montgomery, MD, the institute's director and chair of the surgery department at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, said in a July 12 news release from the health system.

"We are so grateful to the families who volunteer to participate in this research, which will lead to saving untold thousands of more lives,” Dr. Montgomery said of the whole-body donors."Our greater purpose is to address the organ shortage and provide another option for the more than 100,000 people nationwide waiting on that lifesaving gift," he said in the news release.

Nader Moazami, MD, surgical director of heart transplantation at the institute, said: "Our goal is to integrate the practices used in a typical, everyday heart transplant, only with a nonhuman organ that will function normally without additional aid from untested devices or medicines. We seek to confirm that clinical trials can move ahead using this new supply of organs with the tried-and-true transplant practices we have perfected at the NYU Langone Transplant Institute."

The heart xenotransplants concluded June 19 and July 9. Heart function was monitored for three days, with no signs of early rejection or the presence of cytomegalovirus detected in either organ.

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