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US Man Dies 2 Months After Historic Pig Kidney Transplant

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Rick Slayman, the pioneer patient who received the world's first transplant of a genetically modified pig kidney, has died nearly two months post-operation, Massachusetts General Hospital announced.

Despite the setback, his death was not associated with the transplant, marking a significant milestone in the field of xenotransplantation—the transfer of organs or tissues between species.

LEADERSHIP recalls that Slayman, 62, underwent this historic procedure at Massachusetts General Hospital as a potential solution to the severe shortage of human organs worldwide.

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“We have no indication that it was the result of his recent transplant,” the hospital stated, addressing concerns about the cause of his death. They added, “Mr. Slayman will forever be seen as a beacon of hope to countless transplant patients worldwide and we are deeply grateful for his trust and willingness to advance the field of xenotransplantation.”

The transplant used a pig kidney that had been genetically altered to enhance compatibility with human bodies. This included the removal of specific pig genes and the addition of human ones, alongside the deactivation of porcine endogenous retroviruses to negate any risk of human infection.

The Slayman family, mourning yet proud, expressed their profound sorrow but also their appreciation for the medical advancements that granted additional weeks with their loved one.

“Our family is deeply saddened about the sudden passing of our beloved Rick but take great comfort knowing he inspired so many,” they shared. “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.”


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