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Man who received first pig kidney transplant dies aged 62

Image source, Massachusetts General Hospital

Legend, Richard “Rick” Slayman, 62, was the world’s first recipient of a pig kidney

  • Author, Hafsa Khalil
  • Role, BBC News

The first man to receive a genetically modified pig kidney transplant has died two months after the operation, the hospital that performed the operation announced.

Richard “Rick” Slayman, 62, suffered from end-stage kidney disease before undergoing surgery in March.

Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) said Sunday that there was no indication that his death was due to the transplant.

Transplants of other organs from genetically modified pigs have failed in the past, but Mr Slayman’s operation was hailed as a historic milestone.

In addition to kidney disease, Mr. Slayman also suffered from type 2 diabetes and hypertension. In 2018, he underwent a human kidney transplant, but it began to fail after five years.

After his pig kidney transplant on March 16, his doctors confirmed that he no longer needed dialysis, with the new organ functioning well.

“Mr. Slayman will forever be considered a beacon of hope for countless transplant patients around the world and we are deeply grateful for his trust and drive to advance the field of xenotransplantation,” MGH said in a statement. communicated.

Xenotransplantation is the transplantation of living cells, tissues or organs from one species to another.

MGH said it was “deeply saddened” by his sudden death and offered its condolences to his family.

Those close to Mr. Slayman said his story was an inspiration.

“Rick said one of the reasons he underwent this procedure was to give hope to the thousands of people who need a transplant to survive,” they said.

“Rick achieved this goal and his hope and optimism will endure forever.

“To us, Rick was a kind-hearted man with a keen sense of humor and fiercely devoted to his family, friends and colleagues,” they added.

Although Mr. Slayman received the first pig kidney to be transplanted into a human, it is not the first pig organ to be used in a transplant procedure.

Two other patients received pig heart transplants, but these procedures were unsuccessful as the recipients died a few weeks later.

In one case, there were signs that the patient’s immune system had rejected the organ, which is a common risk in transplants.

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