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'New treatment could benefit transplant patients'

'New treatment could benefit transplant patients'
25th January 2008

Doctors claim to have developed a technique which could free many organ transplant patients from having to take immune system suppressing drugs for the rest of their lives.

Currently, when an individual receives a transplant, their body automatically rejects the new organ, unless it is from an identical twin.

Patients take immunosuppressant drugs to prevent the organ being rejected- but they can lead to complications.

Researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston have developed a treatment which involves weakening the patient's immune system then giving the recipient bone marrow from the donor.

In an initial trial, four out of five kidney recipients were off the medication up to five years later.

"There's reason to hope that these patients will be off drugs for the rest of their lives," said Dr David Sachs, who led the research.

According to statistics from UK Transplant, 2,137 people living in the UK received kidney or pancreas transplants between April 2006 and March 2007.

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