A team of Penn surgeons has successfully transplanted hepatitis C-infected hearts into uninfected patients and then cured them of the virus, according to a new study published by the American Journal of Transplantation.

The clinical trial — which tested the safety of hepatitis C-infected donor organs — included 10 transplant patients. Nine survived, and one died due to factors unrelated to hepatitis C, according to the lead co-author, physician Peter Reese.

“All 10 responded rapidly to antiviral therapy despite the fact that they were very immunosuppressed,” Reese said. “And we saw very little in the way of adverse events that were likely related to the virus or related to the therapy.”

If confirmed, the findings could help expand the donor pool for patients in need of life-saving heart transplants, Reese added.

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