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News > Germany

Germany: Scientist to Modify Pigs for Heart Transplants

  • German Scientists to perform heart transplants from genetically modified pigs. Feb. 4, 2022.

    German Scientists to perform heart transplants from genetically modified pigs. Feb. 4, 2022. | Photo: Twitter/@mirwisekakar6

Published 4 February 2022

German scientists have plans to genetically modify pigs in order to use them as heart donors for Humans.

In Germany, scientists intended to genetically modify pigs to transplants their harts into human beings. According to the statements, the first generation of these pigs would be ready for this year.

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The tests will be initially performed in baboons, before eventually seeking human clinical trials. Eckhard Wolf, a scientist at Ludwig-Maximilians University (LMU) in Munich, announced, that his team hopes to have the modified species from the Auckland Island breed for the transplants tests ready by 2025.

Wolf explained that the team plans to create these first species by cloning and using the creatures to breed genetically identical generations of pigs. It is expected that the first generation is produced this year, and after clinical trials in baboons, they will ask for approval to perform the test in humans.

The current studies came following a first-of-its-kind surgery performed in Maryland last month, transplanting a heart from a genetically modified pig (with 10 modifications) to a terminally ill man. "Our concept is to proceed with a simpler model, namely with five genetic modifications," Wolf underlined.

Surgeons in Alabama successfully performed the transplantation of a pig’s kidneys into the body of a brain-dead man, last January as a possible rehearsal for further surgery that may eventually be tested on living patients. As scientist admits that using animals may shorten the long wait in the transplant list, there are some that oppose the idea.

Kristina Berchtold, a spokesperson for the Munich branch of Germany's Animal Welfare Association, highlighted that “animals should not serve as spare parts for humans. A pet, a so-called farm animal, a clone, or a natural-born animal all have the same needs, fears, and also rights."


Eckhard Wolf
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