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Pig kidney transplant not linked to man’s death, doctors say

STORY: DR. LEONARDO RIELLA: “So, at this time, there is no indication that the kidney transplant had any influence on his death…”

:: Massachusetts General Hospital

Doctors say they don’t believe the man who received the world’s first pig kidney transplant died from the transplanted organ.

Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston announced the death of Rick Slayman, 62, a few days ago.

:: March 16, 2024

Dr. Leonardo Riella directs kidney transplants there.

“We saw him in the clinic the day he ended up dying. So we had proof that his blood and urine tests showed that the kidney was working, working well.”

Slayman suffered from end-stage kidney disease.

:: Michelle Rose/Massachusetts General Hospital

His kidney transplant came from a genetically modified pig – a procedure that was celebrated as an important step in providing more readily available organs to patients.

DR. MIKE CURTIS: “The kidney was working well. He was producing urine…”

Dr. Mike Curtis is the CEO of eGenesis, the startup that provided Slayman’s pig kidney.

MIKE CURTIS: “He was a relatively complicated patient. He had a reasonable cardiovascular risk. He suffered from metabolic disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, right…” //

“So the simplest hypothesis, you know, is: Is there something from cardiovascular disease that could play a role in his death? I think that’s the most simple hypothesis. simpler and something teams are exploring.”

:: Deposit

In the United States, more than 100,000 people are waiting for an organ transplant, with kidneys in greatest demand.

:: Deposit

That’s according to a data tracking tool run by the United Network for Organ Sharing.

In a statement, Slayman’s family said they take comfort in knowing he inspired so many people.

CURTIS: “I think the best way to honor Mr. Slayman’s legacy is to learn from this experience, learn from this procedure and inform what we do next. I think the worst thing we can do is become too conservative and quit.”

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