World’s first pig-to-human kidney transplant performed in U.S

Kidney model, stethoscope and paper clipboard with text KIDNEY TRANSPLANT.

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Update 3.22 PM EST: Adds stocks reactions of dialysis providers

Massachusetts General Hospital announced Thursday that its surgeons conducted the world’s first successful transplant of a genetically modified pig kidney into a living human, a significant milestone in efforts to address the global organ shortage.

The patient, 62-year-old Richard “Rick” Slayman of Weymouth, Massachusetts, is recovering well and is expected to be discharged soon after undergoing the four-hour surgery on Saturday, the Boston-based hospital added.

Slayman, who had a history of Type 2 diabetes and hypertension, received a kidney transplant from a human donor at the same hospital in 2018. The patient opted for the pig kidney procedure after his previous transplant failed and forced him to resume dialysis in 2023.

Shares of leading dialysis providers DaVita (DVA), Fresenius Medical Care (FMS), and Outset Medical (OM), the maker of the Tablo Hemodialysis System, came under pressure after the news.

Cambridge, Mass.-based biotech eGenesis provided the pig kidney from a pig that underwent CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing to remove harmful animal genes and add human genes to improve the organ’s compatibility.

After the operation, Slayman received immunosuppressive therapies: tegoprubart and ravulizumab, provided by Eledon Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ELDN) and AstraZeneca’s (NASDAQ:AZN) unit, Alexion Pharmaceuticals.

Massachusetts General identified the procedure, performed as part of an FDA program for experimental therapies called “compassionate use,” as a potential solution to address the ever-increasing demand for organs.

In the U.S., it is estimated that more than 100,000 people seek an organ for transplant, while 17 patients die each day waiting for an organ.

The procedure is the latest medical breakthrough in xenotransplantation—the transfer of organs or tissues from one species to another. In October 2023, the University of Maryland Medical Center transplanted a genetically modified pig heart into a 57-year-old heart failure patient.

Revivicor, a unit of United Therapeutics (UTHR), supplied that organ and Kiniksa Pharmaceuticals (KNSA) provided an experimental immunosuppressive therapy.

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