A man who had the first pig kidney transplant died after two months

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Richard “Rick” Slayman, 62, who became the first person to undergo a genetically modified pig kidney transplant, has passed away two months after the groundbreaking procedure.

Suffering from end-stage kidney disease, he received a transplant in March at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).

MGH clarified that there’s no indication linking his death to the transplant itself. Despite previous failures with transplants involving genetically modified pig organs, Slayman’s operation was celebrated as a significant achievement.

Apart from kidney disease, Slayman battled Type 2 diabetes and hypertension. He previously had a human kidney transplant in 2018, which began to fail after five years.

Following his pig kidney transplant on March 16, doctors confirmed that he no longer required dialysis, signaling the success of the new organ.

In a statement, MGH expressed deep gratitude for Slayman’s role in advancing xenotransplantation, the process of transplanting living cells, tissues, or organs between species. They mourned his sudden passing and extended condolences to his family.

Slayman’s relatives highlighted his story as an inspiration, noting his desire to provide hope for those awaiting transplants.

Described as kind-hearted and humorous, Slayman’s optimism and dedication to his loved ones left a lasting impact.

While Slayman’s pig kidney transplant marked a historic achievement, it’s not the first instance of pig organs being used in transplants. Previous attempts, including pig heart transplants, ended in the recipients’ deaths due to immune system rejection, a common risk in such procedures.

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