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US patient receives first successful transplant of genetically edited pig kidney

Anadolu Agency HEALTH
Published March 21,2024

Surgeons in the US for the first time successfully transplanted a genetically edited pig kidney to a 62-year-old patient.

Richard "Rick" Slayman, from Weymouth, Massachusetts, who was suffering from end-stage kidney disease, underwent the four-hour procedure Saturday at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Slayman is recovering well and is expected to be discharged soon, said the hospital.

"Our hope is that this transplant approach will offer a lifeline to millions of patients worldwide who are suffering from kidney failure," said Dr. Tatsuo Kawai, medical director for kidney transplantation, said in a statement.

Dr. Winfred Williams, Slayman's nephrologist said the transplant represents a "potential breakthrough in solving one of the more intractable problems in our field, that being unequal access for ethnic minority patients to the opportunity for kidney transplants due to the extreme donor organ shortage and other system-based barriers."

"This health disparity has been the target of many national policy initiatives for over 30 years, with only limited success," Williams added.

Slayman said in a statement released by the hospital that he saw the operation "not only as a way to help me, but a way to provide hope for the thousands of people who need a transplant to survive."

The pig kidney was "provided by eGenesis of Cambridge, Mass., from a pig donor that was genetically-edited using CRISPR-Cas9 technology to remove harmful pig genes and add certain human genes to improve its compatibility with humans," according to the hospital.