Someone had to start and it was Dr Dhani Ram Baruah who set the ball rolling in 1997. Every radical idea is opposed at first. This Indian doctor who tried pig to human heart transplant was jailed. However, ball rolled by him seems to have gained pace after a long gap.
Yesterday we saw another ‘first’ pig to human heart transplant reported by media. I understand media loves to report only firsts and TRP is important! Scientifically speaking this is the second such transplant and this one was with genetic modifications to better suite humans.
Dr Muhammad M. Mohiuddin and Dr Mohan Suntha from the Cardiac Xenotransplantation Program at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) performed this feat after a long gap. We need to wait and see how the results will be. Science has progressed in the meanwhile and we hope to see better results. However, we will understand it if it is not good.
Performing anything for the first time comes with a huge risk in medicine. You need balls of steal to be a maverick. It would be interesting to note that the person who performed the first laparoscopic cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal), Dr Med Erich Mühe, was also punished for doing it. Today laparoscopic cholecystectomy is standard of care and open surgery is an exception. So, don’t be surprised if Xenotransplants become a standard of care in the future.