Xenotransplantation or artificial heart : What is the future of cardiac medicine ?


In France, heart failure affects 1.5 million people per year, and 200,000 patients with acute heart failure are hospitalised each year, according to the official website of the French Health Insurance. Our country, like the rest of the world, has been confronted for years with a shortage of organs and tissues, while the need for transplants continues to increase (cf Agence de biomédecine). The extent of the shortage requires that new innovative therapeutic options be sought, and one of the alternatives being studied is xenotransplantation.

What is a xenograft ? 

It is a transplantation of an organ from a donor of a different species than the recipient. In this case, we are talking about a genetically modified animal (pig) heart. Although this technique has been attempted during the 20th century, it may have appeared as a possible way to save lives by alleviating the shortage of transplants. Nevertheless, this alternative is being debated. Beyond the ethical problems it poses – can the animal be “used” to save human life? – it poses above all a problem of physiological acceptance of an animal organ, and therefore that of serious viral transmissions (cf. in January 2022, during a new xenotransplantation, a retrovirus integrated into the pig genome infected the patient who died).

Prothèse cardiaque / insuffisance cardiaque

Is there another alternative that could provide a breakthrough and open the door to a more reliable solution?

The artificial heart is a treatment option that is currently a last resort, which can replace the natural heart while waiting for a heart transplant. With the growth of the market and the increase in innovations in this area, this alternative promises great hope for patient survival !

In addition, Procope Medicals aims to become a key player in cardiovascular health. A medtech startup since 2018, we design a bi-ventricular heart prosthesis, based on a patented technology, capable of reducing infectious risks and optimising the surgical procedure, guaranteeing an artificial heart compatible with the maximum number of adult morphologies and thus offering the best possible quality of life to patients.