A 58-year-old American recently became the second person to receive a heart transplant from a genetically modified pig.

Like the first one worldwide (in January 2022), the transplant took place at the University of Maryland Medical Center in the United States. The first patient to receive such a transplant, David Bennett, died two months after the operation.

More than 100,000 Americans are on the waiting list for organ transplants. The shortage of organ donors has led scientists to investigate xenotransplantation, that is, the use of animal organs for transplantation into humans.

The second pig-to-human heart transplant took place on Wednesday, September 20. Lawrence Fawcett, a Navy veteran, was given no hope of survival after being diagnosed with end-stage heart failure and deemed “unsuitable” for a human heart transplant. As such, the solution represented the “only option” it had, according to the relevant press release.

“At least now I’m hoping for something, I have a chance,” Fawcett, 58, said before the operation.

“We have no expectations other than to spend more time together…” said his wife, “… sitting on the veranda and drinking our coffee together.”

Lawrence Fawcett is now breathing without mechanical support and the new heart is working well, according to treating doctors. He is receiving immunosuppressants and “a new antibody treatment” to keep his body from rejecting the transplant.

This is, after all, the reason why the transplant comes from a genetically modified pig, to limit the risk of rejection.

Recently, kidney transplants from genetically modified pigs have been performed in brain-dead patients. On September 16, the Transplant Institute at the Langone Medical Center in New York announced that 32 days after transplanting a kidney from a genetically modified pig into a brain-dead patient, the transplant was still functioning without problems, underscoring how the previous record was broken.