What happens if the organs of an animal are transplanted to a person?

Lack of donor organs and their high cost are one of the main problems of modern medicine, which annually become a death sentence for hundreds of thousands of people around the planet.

Xenotransplantation is the name given to interspecies transplantation of organs and tissues in science. The first attempts to «sew» various parts of a wild animal to the body have been made since ancient times. They are reflected in the mythologies of ancient civilizations.

The pioneer who performed the first successful xenotransplantation is

As a result, the organs were amazingly fused with human tissue. According to the scientist, the operation increased male potency, strengthened overall health and prolonged life.

Despite the fact that later scientific work has denied any beneficial effect of such experiments on the human body, after surgery, patients experienced a placebo effect and actually felt better.

A similar result was achieved by the American surgeon Keith Rimtsm, who in 1963

The patient recovered quickly and was even able to return to her work.

However, after 9 months, the woman’s heart suddenly stopped. Although the transplanted kidneys took root and were not rejected by the body, they did not work properly and led to an imbalance in the water-salt balance.

Now in no clinic in the world the internal organs of animals are not transplanted to people. With the current level of development of transplantation, such operations remain impracticable.

The main problem is that in most cases

This is because each person has their own set of proteins from birth. There is no immune response to it. But when a protein not from this set (antigen) enters the body, immunity is activated and the body produces antibodies that stick together foreign compounds.

Each person has a unique set of proteins. When an organ is transplanted, the immune system can recognize someone else’s antigen and attack its own body, thereby rejecting the organ.

And if in people this happens infrequently, then even the animals closest to us have a completely different structure and therefore the chance of rejection of their organs is close to 100%.

Theoretically, this problem can be solved with the help of artificial suppression of immunity — immunosuppression. However, in this case, the body ceases to resist viruses and bacteria.

Researchers continue to study the possibility of animal organ transplants. In 2015, American scientists

In 2017, Chinese scientists

However, these studies are limited by both ethical norms and the inability to experiment with people. This is probably why nothing is known about the success of the researchers so far.