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US: 1st Person To Receive Pig Kidney Dies Months After Transplant

08:19 AM May 13, 2024 IST | NEWS Desk
us  1st person to receive pig kidney dies months after transplant
US: 1st Person To Receive Pig Kidney Dies Months After Transplant

Massachusetts [US]: The world's first living recipient of a genetically edited pig kidney transplant, Rick Slayman died around two months after making history, CNN reported.

Slayman, 62, received the kidney at Massachusetts General Hospital in March after he had been diagnosed with end-stage kidney disease last year.
However, the hospital has emphasized there is "no indication" his death was a result of the transplant.

After undergoing the four-hour surgery at the recommendation of his doctors, Slayman, a manager with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, was discharged from hospital in April.

After the surgery, doctors said they believed the new kidney could last years, but acknowledged there are many unknowns in animal-to-human transplants.

"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," Massachusetts General said in a statement.

"We offer our heartfelt condolences to Mr Slayman's family and loved ones as they remember an extraordinary person whose generosity and kindness touched all who knew him."

Slayman's family described him as a kind man who was fiercely dedicated to the people in his life.

"Our family is deeply saddened about the sudden passing of our beloved Rick but take great comfort knowing he inspired so many," a family statement as quoted by CNN read.

"Millions of people worldwide have come to know Rick's story. We felt - and still feel - comforted by the optimism he provided patients desperately waiting for a transplant."
Slayman had been a patient in the hospital's transplant program for 11 years, he previously said in a statement.

He received a kidney from a human donor in 2018, after living with diabetes and high blood pressure for many years. The kidney began to show signs of failure five years later, and he resumed dialysis in 2023.

"I saw it not only as a way to help me, but a way to provide hope for the thousands of people who need a transplant to survive," Slayman wrote in the statement.

The ground-breaking operation, which was hailed as a medical milestone in March, was performed by Dr Tatsuo Kawai, director of the Legorreta Center for Clinical Transplant Tolerance.

Notably, the need for organs far exceeds the number available in the US. According to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, there are more than 100,000 people currently waiting for an organ donation, CNN reported.

Experts have long been researching how to safely and successfully transplant animal organs into people, which they say could help solve the organ shortage.

Before Slayman's case, only two transplants had been completed using pig organs - both heart transplants performed under compassionate use. Both patients died weeks after receiving the hearts.

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