canada africa partner reservation First patient to receive gene-engineered pig kidney transplant dies

First patient to receive gene-engineered pig kidney transplant dies

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The first living patient to receive a genetically modified pig kidney transplant has died two months after the procedure, according to the US hospital that performed the kidney transplant.

“The Mass General is deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Mr. Rick Slayman. We have no indication that this was the result of his recent transplant,” the Boston hospital said in a statement issued late Saturday.

In a world first, surgeons at Massachusetts General Hospital in March successfully transplanted the genetically modified pig kidney into Slayman, who was 62 years old at the time and suffering from end-stage kidney disease.

“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 willingness to advance the field of xenotransplantation,” the hospital statement said.

Organ shortages are a chronic problem worldwide and Mass General said in March that more than 1,400 patients were on the waiting list for a kidney transplant.

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

Slayman, who suffered from type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, had received a transplanted human kidney in 2018, but it began to fail five years later.

‘He inspired so many’

When the hospital announced the successful transplant in March, Slayman said he agreed to the procedure “not only as a way to help him, but also as a way to provide hope to the thousands of people who need a transplant to to survive.”

In a statement on Mass General’s website, his family said that while they were “deeply saddened by the sudden passing of our beloved Rick,” they “take great comfort in knowing that he inspired so many.”

The family said they were “comforted by the optimism he offered to patients desperately waiting for a transplant.”

According to a website of the US Department of Health, more than 89,000 patients have been on the national kidney waiting list since March this year.

On average, 17 people die every day while waiting for an organ transplant.

Slayman’s family also thanked the doctors “who really did everything they could to give Rick a second chance. Their tremendous efforts in directing the xenotransplant gave our family seven more weeks with Rick, and our memories that we had in that made time will remain in our minds and hearts.”

“After his transplant, Rick said one of the reasons he underwent this procedure was to provide hope for the thousands of people who need a transplant to survive,” the family added.

“His legacy will be one that inspires patients, researchers and healthcare professionals.”

Xenotransplantation

The transplantation of organs from one species to another is a growing field known as xenotransplantation.

About a month after Slayman’s procedure, surgeons at NYU Langone Health in New York performed a similar transplant on Lisa Pisano, who was suffering from heart failure and end-stage kidney disease.

Pig kidneys had previously been transplanted into brain-dead patients, but Slayman was the first living person to receive one.

Genetically modified pig hearts were transplanted into two patients at the University of Maryland in 2023, but both lived less than two months.

Mass General said Slayman’s transplant was performed under a policy known as “compassionate use,” which allows patients with “serious or life-threatening conditions” access to experimental therapies not yet approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.