Richard “Rick” Slayman, who made historical past at age 62 as the primary particular person to receive a kidney from a genetically modified pig, has died about two months after the process.

Massachusetts Basic Hospital, the place Mr. Slayman had the operation, stated in a statement on Saturday that its transplant group was “deeply saddened” at his loss of life. The hospital stated it had “no indication that it was the results of his latest transplant.”

Mr. Slayman, who was Black, had end-stage kidney illness, a situation that impacts greater than 800,000 individuals in america, in keeping with the federal authorities, with disproportionately higher rates amongst Black individuals.

There are far too few kidneys accessible for donation. Practically 90,000 individuals are on the national waiting list for a kidney.

Mr. Slayman, a supervisor for the state transportation division from Weymouth, Mass., had obtained a human kidney in 2018. When it started to fail in 2023 and he developed congestive coronary heart failure, his medical doctors prompt he attempt one from a modified pig.

“I noticed it not solely as a approach to assist me, however a approach to supply hope for the hundreds of people that want a transplant to outlive,” he stated in a hospital information release in March.

His surgical procedure, which lasted 4 hours, was a medical milestone. For many years, proponents of so-called xenotransplantation have proposed changing ailing human organs with these from animals. The principle downside with the strategy is the human immune system, which rejects animal tissue as overseas, typically resulting in severe issues.

Latest advances in genetic engineering have allowed researchers to tweak the genes of the animal organs to make them extra suitable with their recipients.

The pig kidney that was transplanted into Mr. Slayman was engineered by eGenesis, a biotech firm primarily based in Cambridge, Mass. Scientists there eliminated three genes and added seven others to enhance compatibility. The corporate additionally inactivated retroviruses that pigs carry and might be dangerous to people.

“Mr. Slayman was a real pioneer,” eGenesis stated in a statement on social media on Saturday. “His braveness has helped to forge a path ahead for present and future sufferers affected by kidney failure.”

Mr. Slayman was discharged from the hospital two weeks after his surgical procedure, with “one of many cleanest payments of well being I’ve had in a very long time,” he said on the time.

In an announcement printed by the hospital, Mr. Slayman’s household stated he was type, quick-witted and “fiercely devoted to his household, buddies and colleagues.” They stated that they had taken nice consolation in realizing that his case had impressed so many individuals.

“Thousands and thousands of individuals worldwide have come to know Rick’s story,” they stated within the assertion. “We felt — and nonetheless really feel — comforted by the optimism he supplied sufferers desperately ready for a transplant.”

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