Slyman, the first recipient of pig kidney transplant dies 2 months after receiving it

    The first recipient of a genetically modified pig kidney transplant has died nearly two months after he underwent the procedure, his family and the hospital that performed the surgery said Saturday.

    Richard “Rick” Slayman had the transplant at Massachusetts General Hospital in March at the age of 62. Surgeons said they believed the pig kidney would last for at least two years.

    Though, the transplant team at Massachusetts General Hospital said in a statement it was deeply saddened by Slayman’s death and offered condolences to his family. They said they didn’t have any indication that he died as a result of the transplant, Associated Press reported.

    Meanwhile, alongside kidney disease, Slayman grappled with Type 2 diabetes and hypertension, and had undergone a human kidney transplant in 2018 which began to fail after five years.

    Following his pig kidney transplant, doctors noted his decreased need for dialysis as the new organ functioned effectively.

    While Slayman’s case marked the first pig kidney transplant in a human, previous attempts with pig heart transplants were unsuccessful, highlighting the challenges of xenotransplantation.

    Xenotransplantation is the transplanting of living cells, tissues or organs from one species to another.