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First Gene-Edited Pig Kidney Transplant Patient Passes Away

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The groundbreaking recipient of a genetically modified pig kidney transplant, Richard ‘Rick’ Slayman, has tragically passed away approximately two months following the pioneering procedure. Slayman, aged 62, underwent the historical transplant at Massachusetts General Hospital in March of this year.

Mass General Hospital, where the revolutionary surgery took place, expressed deep sorrow at Slayman’s untimely demise and extended condolences to his family. The medical team emphasized that there were no indications linking his death directly to the transplant.

Slayman, a resident of Weymouth, Massachusetts, became the first living individual to undergo the genetically modified pig kidney transplant. Previously, pig kidneys had been transplanted into deceased individuals, although with limited success.

Having undergone a kidney transplant in 2018, Slayman found himself back on dialysis last year due to signs of kidney failure. The complications of dialysis prompted his medical team to propose the innovative pig kidney transplant.

The pig kidney used in the transplant was provided by a Massachusetts-based biotechnology company called eGenesis, which had altered the organ by removing harmful pig genes and incorporating specific human genes. Slayman, who also battled Type 2 diabetes and hypertension, had received a human kidney transplant in 2018 which started to fail five years later.

Slayman’s family released a statement expressing gratitude towards the medical staff involved in his care, acknowledging the additional time the xenotransplant provided to spend with him. They highlighted Slayman’s altruistic intent, mentioning that he underwent the groundbreaking procedure not only for personal benefit but to instill hope in the countless individuals awaiting life-saving transplants.

Xenotransplantation, the practice of utilizing animal cells, tissues, or organs to treat human patients, has seen recent advancements due to genetically engineered pigs that possess more human-like organs.

Rachel Adams

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