‘New beginning’: Weymouth man who received first genetically edited pig kidney transplant discharged

BOSTON — The Massachusetts man, who was the recipient of the world’s first successful transplant of a genetically edited pig kidney, was officially discharged from the hospital.

Surrounded by his care team and family, Richard ‘Rick’ Slayman, 62, of Weymouth, was able to leave Massachusetts General Hospital on Wednesday.

“This moment – leaving the hospital today with one of the cleanest bills of health I’ve had in a long time – is one I wished would come for many years. Now, it’s a reality and one of the happiest moments of my life,” said Slayman.

With a joyful crowd around him Wednesday, Slayman offered his gratitude to those who have offered support during his medical journey.

“The care I received was exceptional and I trust the physicians of the Mass General Brigham health system with my life. I’m excited to resume spending time with my family, friends, and loved ones free from the burden of dialysis that has affected my quality of life for many years,” Slayman stated.

Slayman will continue his recovery at home.

“Today marks a new beginning not just for me, but for them, as well. My recovery is progressing smoothly and I ask for privacy at this time,” added Slayman.

The “milestone” transplant procedure was performed by a Massachusetts General Hospital surgical team led by Dr. Tatsuo Kawai, Dr. Nahel Elias, and Dr. Leonardo Riella, hospital officials said. A genetically-edited pig kidney with 69 genomic edits was successfully transplanted into Slayman after hours of surgery.

The procedure was performed under a single FDA Expanded Access Protocol – known as compassionate use – granted to a single patient or group of patients with serious, life-threatening illnesses or conditions to gain access to experimental treatments or trials when no comparable treatment options or therapies exist, officials said. Slayman also received an infusion of novel immunosuppressant drugs, tegoprubart, provided by Eledon Pharmaceuticals Inc., and ravulizumab, provided by Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc.

The procedure “marks a major milestone in the quest to provide more readily available organs to patients,” officials said.

Mass General Brigham has a notable history in organ transplant procedures.

The world’s first successful human organ transplant, a kidney transplant, was performed at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in 1954. The nation’s first penile transplant was performed at Mass General in 2016.

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