David Bennett, the first patient to receive a heart transplant from a pig that had undergone gene editing, has died, the New York Times reports. He was 57.
In January, University of Maryland surgeons announced they had successfully transplanted a pig heart into a human recipient. The pig had undergone gene-editing to remove certain sugars and other factors as well as add others to decrease the likelihood of the organ being rejected. Bennett received the heart under a compassionate use emergency authorization as he had no other treatment options. "It was either die or do this transplant. I want to live. I know it's a shot in the dark, but it's my last choice," Bennett said before his surgery, according to a university press release.
The Associated Press notes that Bennett had appeared to be slowly recovering from his surgery, as the Maryland team released videos of him watching the Super Bowl and working with a physical therapist. But it adds that his condition began to deteriorate a few days before his death on Tuesday.
According to the Times, the cause of death is not yet clear as doctors are still conducting an examination. Bennett, the AP adds, was the longest surviving recipient of a xenotransplantation.