Man who received first pig kidney transplant dies

A groundbreaking medical procedure involving the transplantation of a genetically modified pig kidney into a human has sadly resulted in the recipient’s death two months after the operation.

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Richard “Rick” Slayman, 62, who was suffering from end-stage kidney disease, underwent the procedure at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in March. However, the hospital has stated that there is no indication that his death was directly caused by the transplant.

While previous attempts at transplanting other organs from genetically modified pigs had failed, Slayman’s operation was considered a significant milestone in the field. In addition to kidney disease, he also battled Type 2 diabetes and hypertension. Although he had received a human kidney transplant in 2018, it began to fail after five years.

Following the pig kidney transplant on March 16, Slayman’s doctors confirmed that he no longer required dialysis as the new organ was functioning well. MGH expressed their gratitude to Slayman for his trust and commitment to advancing the field of xenotransplantation, which involves transplanting living cells, tissues, or organs from one species to another.

The sudden death of Mr. Slayman has deeply saddened MGH, and they have extended their condolences to his family. His relatives described his story as an inspiration and praised his goal of providing hope to thousands of people in need of transplants.

Although Slayman’s case marked the first successful pig kidney transplant in a human, it is worth noting that pig organs have been used in transplant procedures before. Two other patients received pig heart transplants, but unfortunately, both recipients passed away a few weeks later.

In one instance, signs of organ rejection by the patient’s immune system were observed, which is a common risk in transplant procedures.

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