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Monday, April 22 2024

First Pig Kidney Transplant Patient Leaves US Hospital

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A 62-year-old man who underwent a successful kidney transplant from a genetically modified pig has been released from Massachusetts General Hospital, marking a milestone in medical history, according to the BBC. Scientists hail this discovery as a historic turning point that has the potential to completely transform organ transplantation, after previous failed attempts utilizing pig organs.
The news was released by MGH, the largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School located in the US city of Boston, in a press release on Wednesday.

Richard “Rick” Slayman of Weymouth, Massachusetts, was suffering from end-stage kidney disease, according to the hospital, and he needed an organ transplant. During the course of a four-hour procedure on March 16, his doctors successfully transplanted a genetically altered pig kidney into his body.

The doctors said that Mr Slayman’s kidney is now functioning well and he no longer requires dialysis.

Mr Slayman in a statement said that being able to leave the hospital and go home was “one of the happiest moments” of his life.

“I’m excited to resume spending time with my family, friends, and loved ones free from the burden of dialysis that has affected my quality of life for many years.”

He received a kidney transplant from a deceased human donor in 2018. But the transplanted kidney began to fail last year, which is why the surgeons suggested that a kidney transplant from a pig might be an option.

“I saw it not only as a way to help me, but a way to provide hope for the thousands of people who need a transplant to survive,” he stated.

The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based pharmaceutical company eGenesis altered the new pig kidney he was given, removing “harmful pig genes and adding certain human genes to improve its compatibility with humans,” according to the company’s statement.

The hospital noted that for this procedure, it leveraged its legacy as the pioneer of the world’s first successful human organ transplant – a kidney – in 1954. Additionally, it referenced ongoing research conducted in collaboration with eGenesis on xenotransplantation (the transplantation of organs between different species) over the preceding five years.

The procedure was authorized by the Food and Drug Administration under a single Expanded Access Protocol, also referred to as compassionate use. This protocol is usually reserved for patients who have life-threatening conditions and allows them to receive experimental treatments.

The transplant team hailed this achievement as a historic turning point that may provide a viable end to the world’s organ shortage, especially helping communities of color that are disproportionately impacted by it.

“An abundant supply of organs resulting from this technological advance may go far to finally achieve health equity and offer the best solution to kidney failure – a well-functioning kidney – to all patients in need,” said Winfred Williams, the MGH doctor who treated Mr.

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