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First Recipient of Pig Kidney Transplant Passes Away: Mass. General Hospital Confirms

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A man in his 60s who received a genetically modified pig kidney transplant in the U.S. last March has died two months following the procedure.

A photo of Richard Slayman, who received a genetically modified pig kidney transplant. [Photo=Massachusetts General Hospital Website]

According to an Associated Press (AP) report on the 11th (local time), Richard Slayman, a 62-year-old patient with end-stage kidney disease, received a pig kidney transplant at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) on March 16th.

The pig kidney, genetically modified by U.S. biotech company eGenesis, was the first case of its kind to be transplanted into a human. At the time, the medical team expected the pig kidney to function for at least two years, but the patient died about seven weeks after the transplant.

The MGH transplant team expressed their condolences for his death, stating there were no signs of Slayman dying from kidney transplant failure.

Slayman’s family thanked his doctors: “Their enormous efforts leading the xenotransplant gave our family seven more weeks with Rick, and our memories made during that time will remain in our minds and hearts.”

They also added that Slayman’s decision to undergo the transplantation was also meant to give hope to thousands who need a transplant to survive.

Meanwhile, over 100,000 people in the U.S. are on the organ transplant waiting list. Most of these are kidney disease patients, with thousands dying each year before their turn for transplantation comes.

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