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Independent AfricaRecipient of first pig kidney transplant passes away


Recipient of first pig kidney transplant passes away


Massachusett’s General Hospital (MGH) announced that Richard “Rick” Slayman, 62, the recipient of the first genetically modified pig kidney transplant, passed away two months after the procedure.

Slayman had been battling end-stage kidney disease prior to the surgery in March.

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The hospital stated on Sunday that there was no indication his death was linked to the transplant. While transplants of other organs from genetically modified pigs have faced challenges in the past, Slayman’s operation was celebrated as a groundbreaking achievement.

In addition to kidney disease, Slayman also struggled with Type 2 diabetes and hypertension. Despite receiving a human kidney transplant in 2018, his health declined, prompting the recent pig kidney transplant on March 16.

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Following the procedure, doctors reported that Slayman no longer required dialysis as the new organ appeared to function effectively.

“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,” MGH said in a statement.

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

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

Slayman’s relatives said his story was an inspiration.

“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,” they said.

“Rick accomplished that goal and his hope and optimism will endure forever.

“To us, Rick was a kind-hearted man with a quick-witted sense of humour who was fiercely dedicated to his family, friends, and co-workers,” they added.

While 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 have received pig heart transplants, but those procedures were unsuccessful as the recipients died a few weeks later.

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

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