First living patient with transplanted pig kidney goes home from the hospital


Rick Slayman, the world’s first living recipient of a genetically edited pig kidney transplant, was discharged from the hospital Wednesday, two weeks after his operation, Massachusetts General Hospital said in a statement. “He is recovering well and will continue to recuperate at home with his family,” the hospital said on X, formerly Twitter.

In a statement issued by the hospital, Slayman said, “This moment – leaving the hospital today with one of the cleanest bills of health I’ve had in a long time – is one I wished would come for many years. Now, it’s a reality and one of the happiest moments of my life.”

Slayman, a 62-year-old manager with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, had previously said his doctors suggested that he try a pig kidney when he was diagnosed with end-stage kidney disease last year.

His doctors said last month that they thought Slayman’s new kidney could last years but also acknowledged that there are many unknowns in animal-to-human transplants.

His surgery is the third such xenotransplant of a pig organ into a living human. The first two transplants were hearts transplanted into living patients that had run out of other transplant options. The organs were transplanted under special rules that permit compassionate use of experimental therapies for patients in especially dire situations. Both patients died weeks after receiving their organs.

Slayman said he was grateful for the response to his surgery, especially from other patients who are waiting for a kidney transplant.

The need for organs far outstrips the number that are available. Every day 17 people die in the U.S. waiting for an organ. Kidneys are the organ in shortest supply. According to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, roughly 27,000 kidneys were transplanted in 2023, but nearly 89,000 people were on the waitlist for those organs.

”Today marks a new beginning not just for me, but for them, as well,” Slayman said in the statement.


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