Kidney transplant victim dies

Richard “Rick” Slayman, who received the world’s first successful transplant of a genetically edited pig kidney, has died. 

Massachusetts General Hospital, where the transplant occurred on March 21, made the announcement today. Slayman, 62, was living with end-stage kidney disease. The hospital discharged him on April 2.

His treatment points to a major discrepancy regarding kidney transplants among Blacks and Whites.

Black Americans are over three times more likely than White people to experience kidney failure. 

Of the roughly 89,000 people currently on the waiting list for a new kidney, about 30% are Black. Race isn’t a biological factor like age, sex, or weight — it’s a social construct.

After his transplant, Slayman said that one of the reasons he underwent this procedure was to provide hope for the thousands of people who need a transplant to survive.

Doctors said they had no indication that his death was the result of his recent transplant.

“Mr. Slayman will forever be seen as a beacon of hope to countless transplant patients worldwide. We are deeply grateful for his trust and willingness to advance the field of xenotransplantation, which is the use of animal cells and organs to heal humans,” doctors said.