Soon, an End to Anti-Rejection Drugs

In a development that will help millions of transplant patients all over the world kick their anti-rejection drugs, researchers said they have found a procedure that will boost the acceptance of a foreign part.

The complex procedure involves mixing the patient’s infection-fighting white blood cells with cells from the donor, reports BBC News website.

One patient went eight months without immunosuppressive drugs and others were switched to low doses. The study, by Germany’s University of Schleswig-Holstein, appears in Transplant International.

Currently, transplant patients must take a cocktail of powerful drugs for life to dampen down their immune system, and prevent the new organ being rejected. But the drugs themselves can cause side effects, and may not prevent the slow rejection of the organ over time.

The new technique involves giving transplant patients an infusion of specialised cells known as a transplant acceptance-inducing cells (TAICs). The TAICs are created by isolating a type of white blood cell from the donor, and modifying them chemically in the lab.

Once modified, the cells gain the ability to kill off cells in the immune system which trigger the rejection process, and to boost the action of another type of immune cell which plays a beneficial role in guarding against rejection. The cells are then cultured alongside those from the recipient – which helps prime the immune system further – before being injected into the patient.

Sources: The Times Of India

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