Kidney transplant that ‘changes everything’ by preventing rejection (but has risks)

Eight-year-old Aditi Shankar has become the first person in the UK to receive a special type of kidney transplant that does not require long-term medication to stop the organ rejecting. The revolutionary technique, which has been used several other times around the world, was made possible in this particular case by reprogramming his immune system before donating him new organs donated by his mother. For this, doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London used stem cells taken from the donor’s bone marrow, so little Aditi’s body accepted the new organ as its own.

And so, a few weeks after the transplant, the little girl was taken off the immunosuppressant treatment, eliminating the risk of long-term side effects from these powerful drugs that often must be taken every day to prevent rejection of the rest of the organ. someone’s life. According to the BBC, Professor Stephen Marks, a pediatric kidney specialist at Gosh, says Aditi’s treatment appears to be successful. “He is the first kidney transplant patient in the UK to not need immunosuppressant drugs after surgery. We were able to take him off all immunosuppressive drugs a month after the transplant, meaning he did not suffer the side effects of the drugs,” he said. .

However, since double kidney and stem cell transplants carry greater risks for the patient, it is currently unlikely that the procedure will be used on a large scale. “Like all new treatments, it is not without risks, and in this case a stem cell transplant means the patient must also undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy,” said Jeremy Hughes, head of Kidney Research UK. But he added: “The ability of a patient to receive a transplant without the need for lifelong immunosuppressant drugs represents a significant breakthrough and, although the scope of the trial is currently limited, it opens the door to further developments in the future. It is important to note that one of the biggest challenges in transplant care is It has the potential to overcome it.”

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Source: Today IT