Lisa Pisano, a resident of New Jersey, who was the second person ever to receive a gene-edited pig kidney transplant in the United States, has passed away nearly three months after the procedure.

NYU Langone Health in New York confirmed her death on Sunday, noting that the transplanted kidney, received on April 12, had to be removed on May 29 due to complications related to heart medications causing insufficient blood flow.

Ms. Pisano, 54 years old, had been battling both kidney and heart failure.

Her kidney transplant followed the implantation of a mechanical heart pump on April 4, marking a pioneering combination of these technologies in one patient, as reported by surgeons at NYU Langone Health.

Dr. Robert Montgomery, Director of the NYU Langone Transplant Institute, expressed gratitude for Lisa Pisano’s significant contribution to medical research and advancements.

“Lisa’s contributions to medicine, surgery and xenotransplantation cannot be overstated,” he said. “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.”

Prior to Pisano, Richard Slayman, 62, was the first person to receive a gene-edited pig kidney.

Slayman, who underwent the transplant at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, passed away in May, nearly two months post-surgery.

He had been released from the hospital two weeks after the procedure, having been freed from the need for dialysis.

Both pig kidney transplants were authorized under the FDA’s expanded access program, designed for patients facing life-threatening conditions.

The National Kidney Foundation reports that nearly 90,000 people are on the national kidney transplant waitlist, with end-stage kidney disease rates projected to rise significantly by 2030.

Pisano was deemed ineligible for a human kidney transplant due to high levels of harmful antibodies.

Her doctors indicated that finding a human match could have taken years. The gene-edited pig kidney, developed by United Therapeutics Corp., was engineered to block a gene responsible for producing a sugar called alpha-gal, which can cause antibody reactions and kidney rejection.

Additionally, the pig’s thymus gland was transplanted to aid in preventing rejection.

Despite the challenges, Pisano remained hopeful about the potential success of her transplant, even as she acknowledged her uncertain prognosis.

“Lisa helped bring us closer to realizing a future where someone does not have to die for another person to live,” Dr. Montgomery said. “She will forever be remembered for her courage and good nature.”