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  • Posted July 10, 2024

Second Recipient of Genetically Modified Pig Kidney Has Died

The second person to receive a kidney from a genetically modified pig has died, surgeons at NYU Langone Health announced Tuesday.

The 54-year-old patient, Lisa Pisano, had both kidney failure and heart failure. She received the pig kidney April 12, eight days after she had a mechanical heart pump implanted. 

On May 29, surgeons had to remove the kidney because it was damaged by inadequate blood flow related to the heart pump. The New Jersey resident resumed kidney dialysis but later entered hospice care, her doctors told the New York Times. She died Sunday.

“Lisa’s contributions to medicine, surgery and xenotransplantation cannot be overstated,” Dr. Robert Montgomery, director of the NYU Langone Transplant Institute in New York City, told the Times. “Her bravery gave hope to thousands of people living with end-stage kidney or heart failure who could soon benefit from an alternative supply of organs.”

Pisano made medical history when she became the first person with a heart pump to also receive an organ transplant. Patients with kidney failure are usually ineligible for a heart pump because of the high risk of death, the Times reported.

The first patient to receive a genetically modified pig kidney was Richard Slayman. The 62-year-old had the procedure in March at Mass General Brigham in Boston. Though he was discharged just two weeks after his transplant, he had complicated medical issues and died within two months.

The field of xenotransplantation remains experimental: Only patients who are so sick that they are not eligible for a human organ, and who are at risk of dying without treatment, have been cleared to receive animal organs, the Times reported.

The two transplants performed this year were approved under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s compassionate use program, according to the Times.

More information

The American Kidney Fund has more on kidney transplants.

SOURCE: New York Times

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