Animal Organ Places Into Humans For First Time

Photo by Piron Guillaume on Unsplash

( – On Thursday, the doctors at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston announced that they had managed to successfully transplant a pig kidney that has been genetically modified into a human patient. This is the first such a transplant that has been achieved. 

If the procedure ends up being successful this could help thousands of patients receive a transplant without having to wait on the organ transplant list. 

The patient Richard Slayman has been said to be recovering well following the procedure and should be discharged soon. The transplant took place on Saturday in a four-hour procedure according to the hospital. The new kidney had previously been genetically edited so that some of the pig genes would be replaced with human genes. 

Slayman had previously received a kidney transplant in 2018 from a deceased donor. As he has hypertension and Type 2 diabetes he was previously on dialysis, which allows the body to remove waste and fluids that the kidneys cannot filter out, for eight years prior to the transplant. 

However, in May, Slayman had to be put back on dialysis as the transplanted kidney started to exhibit signs of failure. As he noted his nephrologist had recommended the possibility of getting a pig kidney transplant, which had first been approved by a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Expanded Access Protocol in February. This move allows a patient to gain access to experimental treatment in cases where other treatment options do not exist.  

There are over one hundred thousand people in the United States that are currently on the waitlist for an organ transplant according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network data. The network has further noted that each day 17 people die while they are waiting for an organ.

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