After Receiving a Pig Kidney Transplant, Doctors Work to Maintain Its Function


In a groundbreaking medical breakthrough, a man has received a pig kidney transplant in a revolutionary procedure at Massachusetts General Hospital. The recipient, David Slayman, underwent the surgery as an alternative to waiting years for a human kidney due to his rare blood type.

The transplant comes with significant risk, as rejection of the organ and infection are common complications. To prevent rejection, Slayman’s medical team is using a combination of traditional immunosuppressants and an experimental drug called tegoprubart, which blocks the immune response against the donor organ.

The pig kidney has undergone 69 genetic alterations to improve compatibility and function in the human body. Scientists at eGenesis used Crispr technology to modify the pig’s genes, remove certain pig genes, and deactivate viruses that could harm the recipient. This genetic editing aims to extend the longevity of the transplanted kidney.

Although the procedure is not without controversy, with ongoing debate among scientists about the number of genetic edits necessary for pig organs to last in humans, Slayman’s case offers hope for patients in need of organ transplants. If the pig kidney were to fail, Slayman has the option to resume dialysis, unlike the recipients of pig heart transplants who had no backup plan.

The medical team at Mass General plans to further study the effectiveness of pig organ transplants in a formal clinical trial. While the long-term implications of xenotransplants remain uncertain, the success of Slayman’s surgery opens up new possibilities for patients facing extended waits for human organs. For now, the focus is on ensuring Slayman’s health and monitoring the progress of this pioneering procedure.

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