Massachusetts: Man Dies 2 Months After Surgery, First Person to Receive A Successful Pig Kidney Transplant

Massachusetts: Man Dies 2 Months After Surgery, First Person to Receive A Successful Pig Kidney Transplant

The medical institution that carried out the surgery and the family of the first recipient of a genetically modified pig kidney transplant announced on Saturday that the man passed away about two months after the procedure.

Prior to his March surgery, Richard “Rick” Slayman, 62, was experiencing end-stage kidney illness.

According to a statement from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) on Sunday, there was no proof that the transplant caused his death.

Although previous attempts to transplant other organs from genetically modified pigs have failed, Mr. Slayman’s procedure was heralded as a historic first.

“The Mass General transplant team is deeply saddened at the sudden passing of Mr. Rick Slayman,” read the hospital statement. “Mr. Slayman will forever be seen as a beacon of hope to countless transplant patients worldwide and we are deeply grateful for his trust and willingness to advance the field of xenotransplantation.”

Slayman underwent a kidney transplant at the hospital in 2018, but the organ failed after a year and he had to return for dialysis last year. After difficulties from dialysis became more regular, his physicians recommended a kidney transplant from a pig.

The doctors who kept Slayman alive longer were thanked by his family.

“Their enormous efforts leading the xenotransplant gave our family seven more weeks with Rick, and our memories made during that time will remain in our minds and hearts,” the family stated in a statement.

They said that Slayman had the procedure done in part to give hope to the thousands of recipients of life-saving transplants.

According to the statement, “Rick achieved that goal and his hope and optimism will endure forever.”

Using animal tissues, organs, or cells to treat human patients is known as xenotransplantation. Since the human immune system instantly destroyed any alien animal tissue, such attempts were doomed to failure. Modified pigs with more human-like organs have been used in recent experiments.

The majority of the almost 100,000 individuals on the country’s transplant waiting list are kidney sufferers, and thousands of them pass away each year before their time arrives.

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