The first living patient to have received a genetically modified pig kidney transplant has died, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), located in Boston, announced in a press release on Sunday, May 12. “Mass General is deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Mr. Rick Slayman. We have no indication that this is a consequence of his recent transplant,” said the establishment that performed the transplant.

In March, MGH surgeons achieved a world first by operating in four hours on this 62-year-old man who was suffering from terminal kidney disease. The hospital said late Saturday: “Slayman will forever be seen as a beacon of hope for countless transplant patients around the world and we are deeply grateful for his trust and drive to advance the field of xenotransplantation. »

Rick Slayman, who suffered from type 2 diabetes and hypertension, received a human kidney transplant in 2018, but it began failing five years later and the patient was on dialysis.

Organ shortages are a chronic problem worldwide, and Boston Hospital said in March that there were more than 1,400 patients on the kidney transplant waiting list at MGH alone.

The pig kidney used for the transplant was provided by a Massachusetts biotechnology company called “eGenesis” and was genetically modified to remove harmful genes and add some human genes, the hospital said.