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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Affected person 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 Common Hospital, the place Mr. Slayman had the operation, stated in a assertion on Saturday that its transplant workforce was “deeply saddened” at his loss of life. The hospital stated it had “no indication that it was the results of his latest transplant.”

Mr. Slayman, who was Black, had end-stage kidney illness, a situation that impacts greater than 800,000 folks in the US, in line with the federal authorities, with disproportionately greater charges amongst Black folks.

There are far too few kidneys out there for donation. Almost 90,000 persons 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 advised he strive one from a modified pig.

“I noticed it not solely as a method to assist me, however a method to supply hope for the 1000’s of people that want a transplant to outlive,” he stated in a hospital information launch in March.

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

Current advances in genetic engineering have allowed researchers to tweak the genes of the animal organs to make them extra suitable 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 corporate additionally inactivated retroviruses that pigs carry and may very well be dangerous to people.

“Mr. Slayman was a real pioneer,” eGenesis stated in a assertion 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 stated on the time.

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

“Hundreds of thousands of individuals worldwide have come to know Rick’s story,” they stated 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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