Sir Terence told the Sunday Telegraph: ‘If the result of xenotransplantation is satisfactory with porcine kidneys to humans then it is likely that hearts would be used with good effects in humans within a few years.

‘If it works with a kidney, it will work with a heart. That will transform the issue.’

The demand for donor organs for transplantation outweighs the supply, with 280 people in the UK waiting for a heart.

It has been suggested the supply of human donor organs could be substituted with those taken from animals or those grown independently in the lab.