Historic Pig-To-Human Kidney Transplant

March 22, 2024

I saw it 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.

Richard “Rick” Slayman, the first person to ever receive a genetically modified pig kidney. Slayman, who was diagnosed with end-stage kidney disease, is recovering well after the transplant performed on March 16.

Why It Matters: Slayman, 62, is the first person to successfully receive a kidney transplant from a genetically modified pig. The surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital marks a milestone in xenotransplantation – a process involving implanting an animal tissue into a human. Recent advances have allowed scientists to modify animal organs to increase their compatibility with humans, though such procedures are not without criticism.

The list for those seeking a kidney transplant includes more than 100,000 people, but because of an organ shortage, doctors only perform around 25,000 kidney transplants per year. Xenotransplantation has been suggested as a way to help fill this gap.

Read More: Press release from Massachusetts General Hospital

Surgeons Transplant Pig Kidney Into a Patient, a Medical Milestone (The New York Times)

Pig kidney transplanted into living person for first time (CNN)

by Emily Hooker, based in Texas