Friday, October 7, 2011

Kidney Transplants withouth the Immuno drugs?

I love smart thinkers!

Kidney transplants were such a big breakthrough for all those with end stage kiidney failure, but the chances of getting an identical match - unless you had a generous twin - were remote. That meant that even with the closest of matches, patients were/are left with the need for life long anti-rejection therapy to protect the donor kidney. But perhpas that all may change!

Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine have developed a novel protocol for those receiving a donor kidney which may allow them to go "drug free" after a few weeks. What they do is to weaken the recipients immune system with some well directed radiation therapy to the spleen, certain lymph glands and the thymus, and they inject Stem cells from the donor into the recipient at the same time. This results in a sort of "combined" immune response from the recipients "tweaked" immune system that makes it look at the new kidney and say "I see you, but I'm not going to get upset about you being here", and as the lead researcher, Samuel Strober, MD says, "... it casts a blind eye on the foreign tissue of the graft."

Like all good things, this was not an overnight discovery: it took 30 years of mouse research before human trial were started. It's still very early days, but the results are certainly very encouraging.

Why try and avoid immuno-suppressant medications? Well, they are very good at what they do, but they are not a cure and can have very powerful side-effects too such as Diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer!!

As I said at the beginning, I love smart thinkers: but what I admire even more are determined, persistent smart thinkers,

reference material October issue of New England Journal of Medicine
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1 comment:

Angela A. said...

I came across your blog on the weekend and have been reading some of your posts ever since. This one really peaked my interest as my 6 month old son had a liver transplant only 4 months ago. So, I guess, all things transplant have taken over my life!

Anyone who is a transplant recipient would love to be told that their immunosuppressants could stop. Imagine what they could do in another 30 years?