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Pig hearts may be adapted for human use within three years in a breakthrough move that could clear the UK donor list, a leading surgeon has said.
Sir Terence English, who performed Britain's first ever successful heart transplant, said his mentee from the 1979 operation will try to replace a human kidney with a pigs before the end of the year.
Way - Transplants - Process - 'xenotransplantation
He believes this could pave the way for more complicated organ transplants in the process called 'xenotransplantation'.
Sir Terence told the Sunday Telegraph: 'If the result of xenotransplantation is satisfactory with porcine kidneys to humans then it is likely that hearts would be used with good effects in humans within a few years.
Kidney - Heart - Issue
'If it works with a kidney, it will work with a heart. That will transform the issue.'
The demand for donor organs for transplantation outweighs the supply, with 280 people in the UK waiting for a heart.
Supply - Donor - Organs - Animals - Lab
It has been suggested the supply of human donor organs could be substituted with those taken from animals or those grown independently in the lab.
Pig organs could be a good choice for transplantation into human patients, as their organs tend to be similar in size.
Professor - Christoper - McGregor - Registrar - Sir
Professor Christoper McGregor, who was the senior registrar for Sir Terence 40 years ago today when they operated on Keith Castle, has made two 'knock-out' genes that may allow pigs organs to be used in humans.
The University of Alabama professor thinks his team's method could work for a kidney transplant within a few months.
Sir - Terence - Rights - People - Life
Sir Terence added: 'There will be animal rights people who will say it's entirely wrong. But if you can save a life isn't that maybe a bit better?'
It comes as researchers have been using cutting-edge gene editing techniques to modify the...
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