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Patient Dies Weeks After Kidney Transplant From Genetically Modified Pig

Patient Dies Weeks After Kidney Transplant From Genetically Modified Pig


Richard “Rick” Slayman, who made historical past at age 62 as the primary particular person to obtain a kidney from a genetically modified pig, has died about two months after the process.

Massachusetts General Hospital, the place Mr. Slayman had the operation, mentioned in a press release on Saturday that its transplant staff was “deeply saddened” at his demise. The hospital mentioned it had “no indication that it was the results of his current transplant.”

Mr. Slayman, who was Black, had end-stage kidney illness, a situation that impacts greater than 800,000 individuals within the United States, in response to the federal authorities, with disproportionately larger charges amongst Black individuals.

There are far too few kidneys out there for donation. Nearly 90,000 individuals are on the nationwide ready checklist for a kidney.

Mr. Slayman, a supervisor for the state transportation division from Weymouth, Mass., had acquired a human kidney in 2018. When it started to fail in 2023 and he developed congestive coronary heart failure, his medical doctors steered he attempt one from a modified pig.

“I noticed it not solely as a approach to assist me, however a approach to supply hope for the hundreds of people that want a transplant to outlive,” he mentioned in a hospital information launch in March.

His surgical procedure, which lasted 4 hours, was a medical milestone. For a long time, proponents of so-called xenotransplantation have proposed changing ailing human organs with these from animals. The predominant downside with the strategy is the human immune system, which rejects animal tissue as overseas, typically resulting in critical problems.

Recent advances in genetic engineering have allowed researchers to tweak the genes of the animal organs to make them extra appropriate with their recipients.

The pig kidney that was transplanted into Mr. Slayman was engineered by eGenesis, a biotech firm primarily based in Cambridge, Mass. Scientists there eliminated three genes and added seven others to enhance compatibility. The firm additionally inactivated retroviruses that pigs carry and may very well be dangerous to people.

“Mr. Slayman was a real pioneer,” eGenesis mentioned in a statement on social media on Saturday. “His braveness has helped to forge a path ahead for present and future sufferers affected by kidney failure.”

Mr. Slayman was discharged from the hospital two weeks after his surgical procedure, with “one of many cleanest payments of well being I’ve had in a very long time,” he mentioned on the time.

In a press release printed by the hospital, Mr. Slayman’s household mentioned he was form, quick-witted and “fiercely devoted to his household, mates and associates.” They mentioned that they had taken nice consolation in figuring out that his case had impressed so many individuals.

“Millions of individuals worldwide have come to know Rick’s story,” they mentioned within the assertion. “We felt — and nonetheless really feel — comforted by the optimism he offered sufferers desperately ready for a transplant.”



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