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Kidney surgery operating room

For the first time, surgeons have transplanted a kidney from a genetically modified pig into a living person, doctors in Boston said Thursday.

Richard Slayman, 62, of Weymouth, Mass., who is suffering from end-stage kidney disease, received the organ Saturday in a four-hour procedure, Massachusetts General Hospital announced. He is recovering well and is expected to be discharged Saturday, the hospital said.

"I saw it not only as a way to help me, but a way to provide hope for the thousands of people who need a transplant to survive," Slayman said in a statement released by the hospital.

The procedure is the latest development in a fast-moving race to create genetically modified pigs to provide kidneys, livers, hearts and other organs to help alleviate the shortage of organs for people who need transplants.

"Our hope is that this transplant approach will offer a lifeline to millions of patients worldwide who are suffering from kidney failure," said Dr. Tatsuo Kawai, the hospital's director for clinical transplant tolerance, in the hospital statement.

Animal organs could ease transplant shortage