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1st person to receive a pig kidney transplant has died

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The first person to receive a pig kidney transplant has died just two months after he underwent the groundbreaking procedure. 

Rick Slayman, a 62-year-old from Weymouth, Massachusetts, had a genetically modified pig kidney placed in his body as part of a four-hour, pioneering surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital on March 16. 

Slayman had end-stage kidney disease and had previously received a human kidney transplant, which showed signs of failure after a few years. His doctors proposed the experimental pig kidney transplant as Slayman was restarting dialysis and experiencing severe complications. 

The doctors hoped that the pig kidney could last years, CNN reported, but, as such a transplant hasn't been done before, there was uncertainty about how well it would take. Slayman died just weeks after his surgery, but his medical team says there's no evidence the transplant was related to Slayman's death. 

Related: 1st partial-heart transplant growing with baby 1 year later

"The Mass General transplant team is deeply saddened at the sudden passing of Mr. Rick Slayman," the hospital shared in a statement on Saturday (May 11). "We have no indication that it was the result of his recent transplant." The statement did not detail Slayman's cause of death.

As of March 2024, more than 100,000 Americans are on the waiting list for organ transplants, 89,000 of which require a kidney. Each day, 17 people on these lists die. Transplanting genetically modified organs from Animals into humans, a process known as xenotransplantation, is seen as a promising new way to potentially address the shortage of available organs from human donors. 

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