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New Technique Prevents Kidney Rejection

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Kidney specialist Leslie Spry, MD, says the results presented by the Johns Hopkins researchers look impressive. He agrees that the procedure could represent a significant advance. A spokesman for the National Kidney Foundation, Spry practices in Lincoln, Neb.

"When a transplant patient has an incompatibility with a donor, it is like waving a red flag at a bull as far as the immune system is concerned," he says. "The immune system will gear up and kill the kidney. But these researchers seem to have found a way to keep the immune system from attacking."

But he warns that the risk of organ rejection has not been established with the protocol, because most patients in the study have been followed for less than a year and a half.

"My caution is that we need to keep watching them," he tells WebMD. "After five years, the incidence of acute rejection becomes very low. So if they are able to maintain these responses for five years, that will be very exciting."

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