Home News First recipient of genetically modified pig kidney dies after two months

First recipient of genetically modified pig kidney dies after two months

The first recipient of a genetically modified pig kidney has died after two months, though not necessarily from the transplant.

Richard “Rick” Slayman, 62, received the organ at Massachusetts General Hospital in March, with surgeons predicting it would last two years.

Both the hospital and Slayman’s family praised his optimism and his desire to help people by undergoing the procedure.

“Our family is deeply saddened about the sudden passing of our beloved Rick but take great comfort knowing he inspired so many,” his family said in a Saturday statement.

“After his transplant, Rick said that one of the reasons he underwent this procedure was to provide hope for the thousands of people who need a transplant to survive. Rick accomplished that goal, and his hope and optimism will endure forever.”

While Slayman was the first living recipient of a pig kidney, was preceded by two brain-dead donors into whom doctors temporarily transplanted pig kidneys. Two men who received pig-heart transplants died months after their respective procedures.

Doctors at Mass General said there was no indication that Slayman died from the transplant itself. He underwent a traditional kidney transplant in 2018, but it began failing last year and he was back on dialysis, with complications developing. So his doctors suggested the pig kidney as an option.

“The Mass General transplant team is deeply saddened at the sudden passing of Mr. Rick Slayman,” his surgical team said in a statement. “We have no indication that it was the result of his recent transplant. 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.”

With News Wire Services


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