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Wednesday 26th June 2019

Body can be reprogrammed to accept donor organ

19th May 2011

Scientists believe they have made a breakthrough which could see the end of transplant patients needing to take immune system suppressing drugs for life.


UK researchers believe that the body’s natural defences can be “re-educated” to stop them attacking organ transplants.

The team from King’s College London (KCL) has found a way to reprogramme immune system cells so that they think the donated organ is a natural part of the recipient’s body.

The move has enormous potential for transplant patients in that it will avoid the need to take three immunosuppressant drugs a day to prevent a new organ from being rejected after transplantation and also mean the donated organs lasts indefinitely.

Co-author of the report from KCL, Dr Pervinder Sagoo, said: “We hope this is the holy grail that means that the recipient is completely tolerant to the transplanted organ for the rest of their life.”

The drugs patients have to take tend to leave them vulnerable to infections because they suppress the whole immune system.

Professor Robert Lechler, Vice-Principal for Health at King’s, said: “This study is a promising step forward that could lead to dramatic advances in preventing organ rejection and improving the quality of life of transplant patients.”

The study, which was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, was part funded by the British Heart Foundation.

Dr Shannon Amoils, Research Advisor at the British Heart Foundation, described the breakthrough as a "huge step forward for transplantation, more than four decades since the revolutionary treatment began".


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