The first living patient to receive a genetically modified pig kidney transplant has diedannounced the American hospital Mass General Hospital that carried out the intervention.

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“Mass General is deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Rick Slayman. “We have no indication that it was the result of his recent transplant,” the hospital located in Boston (northeast) said in a statement on Saturday night.

In March, surgeons at Mass General Hospital (MGH) performed an unprecedented procedure in the world for about four hours on this 62-year-old man who suffered from end-stage kidney disease.

Slayman will forever be remembered as a light of hope for countless transplant patients around the world and we are deeply grateful to him for his trust and willingness to advance the xenotransplantation sector.“said the hospital.

Organ shortages are a chronic problem around the world, and the Boston hospital declared in March that it had more than 1,400 patients on the waiting list for a kidney transplant.

The pig kidney used was provided by the Massachusetts biotechnology company eGenesis, which genetically modified it to eliminate harmful genes and add human ones, the hospital stated.

“He inspired so many”

Slayman, who suffered from type 2 diabetes and hypertension, had received a human kidney in 2018, but this organ began to stop functioning five years later and the patient was undergoing dialysis.

In a statement posted on Mass General’s website, Slayman’s family members said that while they were “deeply saddened” they were “very comforted knowing that he inspired so many.”

More than 89,000 patients were on the national waiting list for a kidney in March, according to the US Department of Health.

On average, 17 people die daily while waiting for an organ transplant.

Transplanting organs from one species to another is a growing field known as xenotransplantation.

About a month after Slayman’s procedure, surgeons at NYU Langone Health in New York performed a similar operation on Lisa Pisano, who was suffering from heart failure and end-stage renal disease.

Previously, pig kidneys had been transplanted into brain-dead patients, but Slayman was the first living person to receive one.

In 2023, two patients at the University of Maryland were transplanted genetically modified pig hearts, but they survived less than two months.

Mass General said Slayman’s transplant had been carried out under a policy known as “compassionate use,” which allows patients in “serious or life-threatening conditions” to access experimental therapies not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration. of the United States.

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