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Can infants needing heart transplants receive organs from animals?

Xenotransplantation, which is the transplantation of organs from animals into humans, is one step closer to becoming a possibility for infants awaiting human heart transplantation. A study showed a high probability that a genetically engineered pig heart could be implanted in an infant to keep the baby alive until a human heart becomes available, without concern for early rejection. The ability to use pig hearts would provide an inexhaustible source for organ transplantation. Pig heart transplants could therefore potentially save the lives of infants with life-threatening heart diseases. However, much more work is needed before xenotransplantation trials in humans can begin. The next phase of research would be to transplant genetically engineered pig hearts into non-human primates to demonstrate long-term survival.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.