Woman Who Received Pig Kidney Has Died

Lisa Pisano of New Jersey praised for her decision to have the procedure
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 5, 2024 8:29 AM CDT
Updated Jul 9, 2024 12:02 PM CDT
Transplant Patient Loses Her Pig Kidney
Lisa Pisano looks at photos of her dog after her surgeries at NYU Langone Health in New York on Monday, April 22, 2024.   (AP Photo/Shelby Lum, File)
UPDATE Jul 9, 2024 12:02 PM CDT

A New Jersey woman who received a pig kidney transplant has died in hospice care, reports the AP. Lisa Pisano, 54, underwent the novel surgery in April, though she had to have the kidney removed earlier this month. "Lisa helped bring us closer to realizing a future where someone does not have to die for another person to live," said NYU Langone transplant surgeon Dr. Robert Montgomery. "She will forever be remembered for her courage and good nature."

Jun 5, 2024 8:29 AM CDT

The second person to receive a gene-edited pig kidney lived with it for 47 days before it had to come out. Lisa Pisano's body didn't reject the organ. Rather, the kidney was damaged by lack of blood flow related to the heart pump Pisano had received, said officials at NYU Langone Transplant Institute, who removed the kidney on May 29. There were "multiple episodes where the blood pressure [Pisano] could generate" was not sufficient to provide adequate blood flow to the kidney, which reduced its ability to function, institute director Dr. Robert Montgomery tells USA Today. "On balance, the kidney was no longer contributing enough to justify continuing the immunosuppression regimen."

Pisano, who was suffering from heart and kidney failure before the surgery, is now back on kidney dialysis. She's hospitalized "in stable condition" with her heart pump, a left ventricular assist device, "still functioning," Montgomery tells the New York Times. "We are hoping to get Lisa back home to her family soon," he adds. Pisano was not only the second person to receive a gene-edited pig kidney, but the first known person with a mechanical heart pump to receive any organ transplant. She received the kidney just eight days after the heart pump in an experimental procedure approved under the FDA's compassionate use program for critically ill patients.

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Montgomery describes 54-year-old Pisano as "a pioneer and a hero in the effort to create a sustainable option for people waiting for an organ transplant." The first recipient of the gene-edited pig kidney, Richard Slayman of Massachusetts, died last month, nearly two months after surgery. His family noted "the xenotransplant gave our family seven more weeks with Rick." The pig kidney removed from Pisano will now be studied, per USA Today. "Lisa knew the world would learn a great deal through her altruism, and we will apply what she has taught us as we seek to make xenotransplantation a solution for the inadequate supply of human organs," Montgomery says. (More organ transplants stories.)

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