APR 07, 2016 4:37 PM PDT

Immunosuppression Improves Cross-Species Heart Transplant Survival

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker
Transplanting pig hearts into baboons might sound outlandish and like a science fiction novel, but this form of xenotransplantation is currently being studied as a case study in cross-species heart transplant technology. 

A new immune suppressing therapy is the current topic of discussion, with organ rejection being the primary problem in most xenotransplantation studies. There is a large-scale, severe organ shortage faced by doctors, and according to organdonor.gov, an average of 22 people die each day waiting for the organ that could have saved their life. 

In addition to serving as replacements for faulty or damaged human organs, transplantation cross-species could also serve as a treatment for neurodegenerative disorders and diabetes (FDA)

In a new study conducted at the National Heart, Lungs, and Blood Institute led by the University of Maryland School of Medicine and published in Nature Communications, scientists are investigating the possibility that a treatment consisting of anti-CD40 antibody could be the key to helping the transplanted organ resist the immune response indefinitely, ensuring a healthy transition.
 The study recruited 5 baboons to receive pig hearts, but as an additional organ rather than a replacement. The porcine donors were genetically modified prior to the transplantation procedure to have a high tolerance to the immune response. The experimental baboons, containing both their natural hearts and the transplanted hearts, successfully received their foreign organs, with both hearts pumping healthily for a record time of 945 days.

Co-author Richard Pierson has studied xenotransplantation for over 30 years.

“We obviously have a lot more work to do, but I'm confident that eventually this will be useful to human patients,” Pierson said.
 

Source: University of Maryland School of Medicine
About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
SEP 25, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
How Genetics Can Inform Our Understanding of ADHD
SEP 25, 2020
How Genetics Can Inform Our Understanding of ADHD
Scientists have discovered that African-Americans and people of European ancestry may have different genetic causes of a ...
OCT 13, 2020
Immunology
Why Halloween Is Extra Scary for Kids With Peanut Allergies
OCT 13, 2020
Why Halloween Is Extra Scary for Kids With Peanut Allergies
A recent study showed that there is an 85 percent spike in peanut allergy anaphylaxis cases on Halloween. The study, per ...
OCT 15, 2020
Immunology
The Immune Cells Giving Menopausal Women Higher BPs
OCT 15, 2020
The Immune Cells Giving Menopausal Women Higher BPs
In general, men have higher blood pressures than women, giving them an increased risk of developing heart disease. After ...
OCT 11, 2020
Microbiology
Getting Closer to a Vaccine for Flaviviruses
OCT 11, 2020
Getting Closer to a Vaccine for Flaviviruses
Flaviviruses like dengue, West Nile, Zika, Japanese Encephalitis, and yellow fever infect over 400 million people a year ...
OCT 18, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
Small RNA is Connected to Bacterial Pathogenicity
OCT 18, 2020
Small RNA is Connected to Bacterial Pathogenicity
It's thought that as much as half of the global population carries a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori in their stoma ...
OCT 19, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
Mapping the Human Proteome
OCT 19, 2020
Mapping the Human Proteome
To learn more about biology and medicine, researchers have used advances in molecular techniques and computational biolo ...
Loading Comments...