canada africa partner reservation First recipient of genetically modified pig kidney transplant dies

First recipient of genetically modified pig kidney transplant dies

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BOSTON – The first recipient of a genetically modified pig kidney transplant has died nearly two months after undergoing the groundbreaking procedure. Richard “Rick” Slayman, a 62-year-old man from Weymouth, Massachusetts, received the transplant in March at Massachusetts General Hospital, becoming the first living person to undergo such surgery.

Surgeons initially thought the pig kidney would remain in Slayman’s body for at least two years. The hospital’s transplant team issued a statement expressing their deep sadness over Slayman’s passing and offering their condolences to his family. However, they noted that there was no indication that his death was a result of the transplant.

Slayman had previously undergone a kidney transplant in 2018, but had to go back on dialysis last year when signs of failure began to appear. When complications arose that required frequent dialysis procedures, his doctors suggested the pig kidney transplant as a possible solution.

In a statement, Slayman’s family thanked his doctors for their efforts and said the additional seven weeks they were able to spend with Rick were both precious and memorable. They highlighted Slayman’s goal of bringing hope to the thousands of people who need a transplant to survive, a goal he ultimately achieved through the groundbreaking procedure.

Xenotransplants, which use animal cells, tissues, or organs to treat human patients, have historically been unsuccessful due to immediate rejection by the human immune system. However, recent developments in genetic modifications have made pig organs more compatible with humans, opening up new possibilities for organ transplants.

With over 100,000 people currently on the national waiting list for a transplant, the need for viable organ donors remains critically high. Most of these individuals are kidney patients, and thousands die every year waiting for a suitable match. Slayman’s courageous decision to undergo an experimental pig kidney transplant could pave the way for future breakthroughs in the field of xenotransplantation, offering hope to people in need of life-saving organ transplants.