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U.S. Doctors Transplant Pig Heart Into Human Patient For the First Time

Members of the surgical team perform the transplant of a pig heart into patient David Bennett in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S. on Jan. 7.

Members of the surgical team perform the transplant of a pig heart into patient David Bennett in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S. on Jan. 7.

Photographer: Mark Teske/University of Maryland School of Medicine/AP Photos

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(AP) -- In a medical first, doctors transplanted a pig heart into a patient in a last-ditch effort to save his life and a Maryland hospital said Monday that he's doing well three days after the highly experimental surgery.

While it’s too soon to know if the operation really will work, it marks a step in the decades-long quest to one day use animal organs for life-saving transplants. Doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center say the transplant showed that a heart from a genetically modified animal can function in the human body without immediate rejection.