Death of the First Patient to Receive a Pig Kidney Transplant

Death of the First Patient to Receive a Pig Kidney Transplant
Death of the First Patient to Receive a Pig Kidney Transplant

Massachusetts General Hospital announced the death of Rick Slayman, the first living patient to undergo a genetically modified pig kidney transplant.

Melissa Mattola-Kiatos, a specialist nurse, removes a pig kidney from its box to prepare it for transplantation at Massachusetts General Hospital, March 16, 2024, in Boston.Keystone

The first living patient to receive a genetically modified pig kidney transplant has died, the hospital that performed the transplant said in a statement.

“Mass General is deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Rick Slayman. We have no indication that this is a consequence of his recent transplant,” said Massachusetts General Hospital, located in Boston.

Last March, surgeons at Mass General Hospital (MGH) achieved a world first by operating in four hours on this 62-year-old man who was suffering from terminal kidney disease. The hospital said late Saturday that “Slayman will forever be seen as a beacon of hope for countless transplant patients around the world and we are deeply grateful for his trust and drive to advance the world.” field of xenotransplantation.

Organ shortages are a chronic problem worldwide, and Boston Hospital said in March that there were more than 1,400 patients on the kidney transplant waiting list at MGH alone.

The pig kidney used for the transplant was provided by a Massachusetts biotechnology company called eGenesis and was genetically modified to remove harmful genes and add some human genes, the hospital said.

Rick Slayman, who suffered from type 2 diabetes and hypertension, received a human kidney transplant in 2018, but it began to fail five years later and the patient was on dialysis. (dal/afp)

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