No more imunosupressants?
I read an one of the most exciting things I’ve read in a long time on NBC news about kidney (and organ) transplantation! It’s about a new technique — called a dual immune/solid organ transplant that was performed on two children who received kidney transplants at Stanford Medical Center. It involves a stem cell transplant that trains the immune system not to reject a donated kidney (or organ). The protocol (used recently at Stanford) isn’t new, but its success is. This technique could replace life long suppression of the immune system by taking immunosuppressive drugs and steroids so the body’s immune system won’t reject a donated kidney. In essence, the donated kidney could last indefinitely inside of a recipient; or at least much longer–and without pharmaceutical immunosuppressant. It could reduce the number of times each transplant recipient might need a kidney (due to rejection). In each case, a parent donated stem cells taken from bone marrow, as well as a kidney. The end goal of transplantation is achieve “immune tolerance,” meaning that the body doesn’t view a donated organ as foreign a threat to the body. We are moving much closer to this reality. This is amazing news for the over 90,000 Americans currently awaiting a life saving organ (80% of which need a kidney). The advances in kidney / organ transplantation in the last 30 years is truly amazing science.