Medical Milestone: Massachusetts Man Receives First Successful Pig Kidney Transplant, Discharged from Hospital

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Massachusetts General Hospital announced Wednesday that the first patient to receive a kidney transplant from pigs genetically modified with gene therapy has been discharged from the hospital.

Rick Slayman (62) had kidney disease that was in its final stages before he received the life-saving organ transplant on March 16th.

The pig’s kidney was genetically modified to make it compatible with human recipients and eliminate the risk of infection.

Slayman stated in a press release that “this moment, leaving the hospital with one of my cleanest health bills in a very long time is something I have longed for.”

“Now, it is a reality. It’s one of the most happy moments of my entire life.”

He continued, “I would like to thank all the staff at Massachusetts General Hospital for their care, both before and after I had my historic transplant. In particular, Dr. Winifred Williams, Dr. Leonardo Riella, Dr. Tatsuo Kawai, and the many nurses who took good care of me each day during my stay.”

The care I received from the Mass General Brigham Health System was exceptional. I trust them with my life.

Slayman said: “I am excited to spend time with my loved ones, family, and friends free of the dialysis burden that has affected my life quality for many years… My recovery progresses smoothly and I request privacy at this time.”

Slayman had his first kidney transplant in 2017 from a human.

In May 2023 his organ started failing again when he began dialysis.

In a press statement issued after the surgery, Tatsuo Kawi, M.D. Ph.D., The director of the Legorreta Center for Clinical Transplant Tolerance, Massachusetts General Hospital, said: “The success is the culmination efforts of thousands of scientists, physicians, and nurses over many decades.”

“We feel privileged to be a part of this historic event. “We hope that this approach to kidney transplantation will provide a lifeline for millions of patients suffering from renal failure around the world,” he added.

Slayman has been a patient of Mass General Transplant Center for 11 years.

The hospital said that the successful surgery marked a “historical milestone” in the field of xenotransplantation. This is the transplantation of organs from one species to another.

This procedure may provide an alternative to organ shortages around the world.

According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, there are more than 100,000 Americans on the waiting list for organ transplants. 17 people die every day.

More than 1,400 patients at MGH are on the kidney transplant waiting list.

The need for kidneys is increasing, and end-stage kidney diseases are expected to rise by 29% to 69% by 2030.

MGH performed the first human kidney transplant in 1954 at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.