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Patient dies weeks after kidney transplant from genetically modified pig| GuyWhoKnowsThings

Richard “Rick” Slayman, who made history at age 62 as the first person to receive a kidney from a genetically modified pig, died about two months after the procedure.

Massachusetts General Hospital, where Slayman had surgery, said in a statement Saturday that his transplant team was “deeply saddened” by his death. The hospital said it had “no indication that it was a result of his recent transplant.”

Mr. Slayman, who was black, suffered from end-stage renal disease, a condition that affects more than 800,000 people in the United States, according to the federal government, with disproportionately higher rates among blacks.

There are very few kidneys available for donation. Almost 90,000 people are in the national waiting list for a kidney.

Slayman, a state transportation department supervisor in Weymouth, Massachusetts, had received a human kidney in 2018. When he started fail in 2023 and developed congestive heart failure, his doctors suggested he try one from a modified pig.

“I saw it not only as a way to help myself, but also as a way to provide hope to the thousands of people who need a transplant to survive,” he said in a news release from the hospital. release in March.

His surgery, which lasted four hours, was a medical milestone. For decades, advocates of so-called xenotransplantation have proposed replacing diseased human organs with animal organs. The main problem with this approach is the human immune system, which rejects animal tissue as foreign, often leading to serious complications.

Recent advances in genetic engineering have allowed researchers to modify the genes of animal organs to make them more compatible with their receptors.

The pig kidney transplanted into Mr. Slayman was designed by eGenesis, a biotechnology company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The scientists removed three genes and added another seven to improve compatibility. The company also inactivated retroviruses carried by pigs that could be harmful to humans.

“Mr. Slayman was a true pioneer,” eGenesis said in a statement on social media on Saturday. “Her bravery has helped forge a path forward for current and future patients suffering from kidney failure.”

Mr. Slayman was discharged from the hospital two weeks after his surgery, with “one of the best health outcomes I've had in a long time,” he said. saying At the time.

In a statement released by the hospital, Mr. Slayman's family said he was kind, resourceful and “fiercely dedicated to his family, friends and co-workers.” They said it was comforting to know that his case had inspired so many people.

“Millions of people around the world have come to know Rick's story,” they said in the statement. “We felt, and still feel, comforted by the optimism he provided to patients desperately waiting for a transplant.”

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