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Altered Stem Cells Limit Transplant Rejection

Approach Could Free Organ Patients From Anti-Rejection Drugs

Research Is a Possible ‘Paradigm Shift’ for Transplants

Leventhal says the research team is now working to modify the approach so that it can be used when the transplanted kidney comes from a donor who has died.

About two-thirds of the roughly 17,000 kidney transplants performed in the U.S. each year involve deceased donors.

He says once this hurdle is overcome, the enriched stem-cell technique could end the need for immunosuppressive drugs in transplant patients.

“These drugs are, quite frankly, toxins,” he tells WebMD. “We use them as a means to an end, but they very negatively impact quality of life and how long transplanted organs last.”

In an editorial published with the study, Massachusetts General Hospital transplant researchers James F. Markmann, MD, and Tatsuo Kawai, MD, noted that the research has the potential to have “an enormous paradigm-shifting impact” on solid-organ transplants.

The study and editorial appear in the March 7 issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine.

“Although only a taste of things to come, few transplant developments in the past half-century have been more enticing than these that put transplantation tolerance within our grasp,” they wrote.

Lindsay Porter is just grateful to be able to keep up with a very active 5-year-old son.

“Frankly, every day that I am not on immunosuppressive drugs is a much better day for my body,” she says.

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