First Pig Kidney Transplant Recipient Dies: Medical Experts Analyze the Outcome

The first successful transplant of a genetically modified pig kidney into a human recipient is still being regarded as a medical milestone and success, although the recipient, unfortunately, passed away.

From the statement released by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), where 62-year-old Richard “Rick” Slayman went through the landmark procedure, the surgery team has been talking about his death not being the consequence of his kidney failing.

The Mass General transplant team feels so bad for the sudden passing of Mr. Rick Slayman, they said in their statement. We don’t see any indication that the results were due to his recent transplant. Mr. Slayman will always be remembered as a shining example of hope for all the transplant patients around the world. We are extremely thankful for his trust and support in the xenotransplantation field.

medicalnewstoday gave the joyful news of his March 16 surgery and everyone was excited and thrilled to hear how good it was going for the patient and the team. Slayman can now walk around just days after the surgery, which is supposed to give him around two years of pumping out the good stuff. Besides, he also became a candidate for the 2018 human kidney transplant when a complication in his previous transplant forced the removal of the treatment that involved dialysis three times a week. Slayman had the most dreadful diseases of all, end-stage kidney disease and heart failure.

Although the cause of death has not been made public, the family has expressed in a statement that the surgery, which is a breakthrough, remains a positive step forward in the field of xenotransplantation. Scientists are trying to give the chance to genetically modified non-human animal organ transplants to be able to successfully meet the critical organ shortage which is so severe these days.

About 90,000 people are the ones to die on the kidney transplant wait list because there are not enough kidneys to give them on the US.

Rick once said that one of the reasons he underwent this procedure was to provide hope for the thousands of people who need a transplant to survive, as Slayman’s family went on to explain in the statement. Rick not only accomplished that goal but also left behind a legacy that will inspire patients, researchers, and health care professionals all over the world with his hope and optimism that will last forever.

eGenesis, the Boston biotech company that created his pig kidney, and modified the genes to make it similar to his own and also removed the retroviruses from the animals, also honored Slayman.

Mr. Slayman was a real adventurer, and this is what eGenesis, on social media, wrote to us on May 11. His courage was so inspiring that it pushed him to create an easier path for current and future patients who are fighting kidney failure.

On April 12, Lisa Pisano, a 54-year-old New Jersey woman, suffering both heart and kidney failure, achieved the second successive donation of a genetically modified pig kidney. It was just a week after she had gotten a mechanical heart implant. In this case, the kidney she got was just like any other kidney, having only one genetic alteration.

Slayman’s family is very proud that his ‘life-extending’ surgery was for the good of both his family and the whole of xenotransplants.

Our family is genuinely upset about the unexpected death of our dear Rick but on the other hand, be happy that he made so many people feel the same way. Millions of people around the world have heard Rick’s story and, even today, we still feel safe and relieved by the optimism he gave to patients who were desperately waiting for a transplant.

The people around Rick were a kind-hearted man with a quick-witted sense of humor who was totally devoted to his family, friends, and co-workers. Their huge efforts in the xenotransplant led our family seven more weeks with Rick, and the wonderful memories created during that time will forever be in our minds and hearts.

This was echoed by the MGH team, which added: We, the people, hereby offer our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Mr. Slayman as they keep in mind an extraordinary person whose generosity and kindness was beyond compare and whose life touched all those who knew him.

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