New Organ Transplant Procedure Called ‘Immune System Tolerance’ Limits Rejections

The journal of Science Translational Medicine published an article describing the surgical procedure developed at Northwestern Memorial Hospital regarding organ transplantation. The article, co-authored by Dr. Joseph Leventhal, a surgeon at Northwestern, said the new organ transplant procedure would help eliminate the need for numerous medications that individuals must take to prevent the body’s immune system from rejecting a new organ.

The reported study described the procedure in which a recipient’s immune system accepts a mismatched organ, even one with a high rate of rejection, from a donor who is unrelated. Those kinds of organ donors represent the majority of the roughly 28,000 organ transplants each year in the United States.

In traditional organ transplant procedures, recipients take medications for the rest of their lives to prevent the body’s immune system from rejecting the organ.

Organ transplant patients would usually be required to take anti-viral drugs along with immunosuppressant medicine.

With a long-term usage of these anti-rejection drugs, patients are left with serious side effects, which include diabetes, cancer and damage to the new organ.

One of the co-authors, Suzanne Ildstad, M.D., called the new process, “immune system tolerance,” explaining that it requires a donor to also donate part of his or her immune system. The idea behind the immune system procedure is to manipulate the living donor’s stem cells. The recipient’s immune system would in turn be tricked into accepting the new organ as a natural part of its body and thus eliminating the need for these long- term drugs.

The bone marrow stem cells that are collected are then enriched for “facilitating cells,” which help the transplants succeed.

In a recent Chicago Tribune article regarding the transplantation procedure, a patient who received a kidney transplant two years ago reported feeling great after having first been diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease at age 19. Now the patient is 47 and doing very well with the transplanted kidney.

Since this new process has been proved successful, it may represent a major breakthrough for many future organ transplant recipients.

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling medical negligence cases and nursing home abuse matters for individuals and families for more than 36 years, in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including, Maywood, Glendale Heights, Winfield, Chicago (Lawndale), Matteson, Buffalo Grove, Arlington Heights and Dolton, Illinois.

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