Massachusetts man is first human to get genetically modified pig kidney transplant

A 62-year-old Massachusetts man is the first transplant patient to receive a kidney from a genetically modified pig. And so far, his recovery is going well.

Richard Slayman, battling end-stage kidney disease, checked into Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston on Saturday. Four hours later, the operation was considered a success, and the hospital announced he should be able to go home soon.

Slayman had already had a human kidney transplant after being on dialysis for seven years, but five years after the transplant, his kidney again began to fail, according to NPR. So, after suffering "serious complications," he signed up for the procedure, "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 said in a hospital statement.

From NPR:

The procedure is the latest development in a fast-moving race to create genetically modified pigs to provide kidneys, livers, hearts and other organs to help alleviate the shortage of organs for people who need transplants.

"Our hope is that this transplant approach will offer a lifeline to millions of patients worldwide who are suffering from kidney failure," said Dr. Tatsuo Kawai, the hospital's director for clinical transplant tolerance, in the hospital statement. …

The kidney transplanted in Boston came from a pig created by eGenesis of Cambridge, Mass. The eGenesis pigs are bred with 69 genetic modifications to prepare organs for human transplantation. The changes protect against a virus known to infect pigs as well as delete pig genes and add human genes to make the organs compatible with people. …

The transplant of the pig kidney was made possible by the Food and Drug Administration as part of a "compassionate use" program aimed at helping desperate patients.

Top image: Gumpanat /

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