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Doctors successfully transplant pig kidney into human for the first time

In a groundbreaking medical achievement, doctors have successfully completed the first-ever transplant of a genetically modified kidney from a pig into a living human. The historic four-hour surgery took place at Massachusetts General Hospital, a pioneer in transplant procedures, where the patient, Rick Slayman, a 62-year-old manager with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, underwent the procedure.

First-ever kidney transplant from pig to human successful

Mr. Slayman, who had been diagnosed with end-stage kidney disease, is said to be recovering well post-surgery and is expected to be discharged from the hospital soon. The surgery marks a significant milestone in the field of transplant medicine, offering hope to thousands of patients awaiting organ transplants.

Speaking on the achievement, Dr Tatsuo Kawai, director of the Legorreta Center for Clinical Transplant Tolerance and the surgeon who performed the operation, expressed awe at the success of the procedure. "When they stitched it in, connecting its blood vessels to Slayman’s, it immediately 'pinked up' and began to make urine. It was truly the most beautiful kidney I have ever seen," Dr. Kawai said emotionally during a news briefing.

The need for organ transplants far outweighs the available supply, with kidneys being the organ in the shortest supply. Mr. Slayman's case represents a significant step towards addressing this gap, as xenotransplants – transplants of animal organs into humans – hold promise in overcoming the shortage.

Dr. Winfred Williams, associate chief of the Department of Nephrology at Mass General, emphasized the potential breakthrough in solving the unequal access to kidney transplants, particularly for ethnic minority patients.

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The successful procedure was made possible through the collaboration of medical professionals and biotech partners, including eGenesis Bio, which genetically modified the pig kidney to make it compatible with humans. Dr. Michael Curtis, CEO of eGenesis, hailed the patient's courage as a true pioneer, enabling this major breakthrough in science and transplant medicine.

While the surgery represents a monumental achievement, researchers caution that more research is needed to fully understand the effectiveness and long-term outcomes of pig kidney transplants in humans. However, there is optimism that such transplants could eventually make dialysis obsolete and provide a more permanent solution for patients in need of organ transplants.

Mr. Slayman's journey from enduring numerous dialysis treatments to receiving a genetically modified pig kidney highlights the potential of medical innovation to transform and save lives. As the medical community continues to push boundaries in transplant medicine, the hope is that more patients like Mr. Slayman will benefit from these groundbreaking advancements.

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