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Man Who Received First Pig Kidney Transplant Passes Away

Richard “Rick” Slayman, aged 62, has died two months after becoming the first person to receive a genetically modified pig kidney transplant, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) confirmed. Mr. Slayman, who was suffering from end-stage kidney disease, underwent the groundbreaking procedure in March. However, there is no indication that his death was directly linked to the transplant.

Despite also battling Type 2 diabetes and hypertension, Mr. Slayman had successfully undergone a human kidney transplant in 2018, which began to fail after five years. Following his pig kidney transplant on March 16th, his doctors reported that he no longer required dialysis, indicating the new organ was functioning well.

The operation was hailed as a historic milestone, as transplants of other organs from genetically modified pigs had previously failed. MGH praised Mr. Slayman as a beacon of hope to transplant patients worldwide, thanking him for his trust and willingness to advance xenotransplantation, the process of transplanting living cells, tissues, or organs from one species to another.

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MGH expressed deep sadness at Mr. Slayman’s sudden passing and extended condolences to his family. His relatives described him as an inspiration, noting his dedication to providing hope for those in need of transplants.

While Mr. Slayman received the first pig kidney transplant, he was not the first to receive a pig organ transplant. Two other patients underwent pig heart transplants, but both procedures were unsuccessful, resulting in the recipients’ deaths a few weeks later. One patient showed signs of organ rejection, a common risk in transplant procedures.

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