Recent Transplant Advances
Optimism Arising from Experimental Drug
Two Decades ago doctors achieved a drug therapy break-through that gave kidney transplant recipients a 50–50 chance of survival for at least a year. Among many doctors, hopes ran high that the body's natural tendency to reject foreign tissue would soon be brought under control. But what worked for kidney transplant patients never worked well for those receiving other organs. In fact, most surgeons stopped performing heart transplants during the 1970s because of continuing problems with tissue rejection. Even with kidney patients, drug therapy over time produced dangerous side effects. The era of routine organ transplants remained a tantalizing dream as researchers intensified their efforts to conquer the rejection problem.
The long-awaited era may now be at hand. A ...