Posted on 06 October 2011.
Stem Cells Offer Solution To Kidney Transplant Patients
Kidney failure occurs frequently in the United States and is primarily caused by poorly controlled diabetes or high blood pressure. Treatment for kidney failure include both dialysis and organ transplantation. Dialysis is an intensive regime of treatments three times per week designed to clean and filter the blood. The initial cost for organ failure in the first year is around $80,000 and the costs for dialysis terwards are around $70,000 per year.
Kidney transplantation has increased in the United States. According to the National Kidney Foundation, 16,901 procedures were performed in the United States in 2010, compared with 16,634 in 2007.Kidney transplants are commonplace in the USA and while they do improve the quality of life for someone in renal failure, they are no walk in the park either. The procedure carries with it a lifelong regime of drugs that have to be taken to help prevent rejection of the transplanted organ.
Recently, scientists have developed a novel stem cell therapy that is administered right after transplant surgery. This new therapy allows some transplant recipients to avoid taking the immunosuppressant drugs that most have to take. The New England Journal of Medicine reports data on 12 patients that received a kidney from a perfect matching donor. Eight of the twelve patients were given the new stem cell therapy and have been off the medication for at least one year and some as much as three.
The new therapy is a combination of radiation, stem cells and antibodies. The therapy is given post transplantation of the new organ. The new recipient receives radiation to the lymph nodes, spleen and thymus gland as well as administration of the antibodies to weaken the immune system.
Ten days later, the stem cells (hematopoietic progenitor cells) are administered. These cells form blood and immune cells and are infused on an outpatient basis. The stem cells eventually join with the immune system making the donor kidney more compatible with the host body. A few immunosuppressive drugs are given at first, but the patient is quickly taken off of them. The goal was to eliminate the immunosuppressive drugs from the mix and to allow the patient to keep the kidney as well. So far, eight of study patients still have their kidneys and they function well.
The research holds promise for improving more lives down the road. The problem of keeping people on immune-suppressing drugs is very significant. The fact that using stem cells as a way to overcome that is creatively sound science. If you just think about what these patients go through, they have had so much to deal with already. Considering dialysis, waiting for a transplant and getting to resume life without the constant drugs is a step towards a working solution for all transplant patients.
Posted in Health
Posted on 03 August 2011.
Miraculous Surgery Gives English Man Second Life-- Source: mirror.co.uk
Matthew Green became the first man in Britain to receive an artificial heart transplant earlier this week. Surgeons say that the surgery went off without any trouble and Mr. Green is now beginning the long recovery process that will accompany the surgery.
Such surgeries are not entirely unheard of around the world though this was the first time such a surgery was undertaken in Britain. The surgery took place at Papworth Hospital and after 6 hours the surgeons believe the artificial heart should have absolutely no problem functioning in place of Mr. Green’s natural heart.
Amazingly doctors working with Mr. Green also say that the surgery went so well and he is recovering so well he might be able to return to his normal life soon. Doctors all around the world were stunned and happy to hear about the overwhelming success of the surgery especially given the fact that it took little time compared to most major heart surgeries. Mr. Green’s family has also expressed the utmost gratitude toward the surgical team for their work as they have essentially given Mr. Green a second lease on life through the incredible operation.
Following the surgery the surgeons involved announced the results of the surgery. Given the resounding success of the operation it is likely that these types of lifesaving operations may become more widely available in the coming years as there has now been multiple complete artificial heart transplants used around the world for a variety of different patients.
Posted in Health
Posted on 07 June 2011.
World’s First Person Cured of HIV
A cure for HIV and AIDS has been a major research goal for many many years and unfortunately it seemed for the longest time that very little progress was being made. Today however the world got news of a potential break in the story as a man was functionally cured of his HIV infection through a series of treatments.
Timothy Ray Brown, who was 45 at the time of treatment in 2007, was treated using a series of stem cell transplants through bone marrow. The treatment was meant to prolong his life because he was suffering from both leukemia as well as HIV at the time. According to doctors involved with and doctors studying the case the transplant apparently carried the incredibly rare HIV immunity gene which has essentially cured Brown of his HIV infection.
Obviously all sorts of investigations have been planned and initiated into the case of Brown’s HIV cure but at this time a variety of medical experts say this is nothing short of a functional cure. The process used to treat and essentially cure Brown however might not ever develop into a truly widespread cure for a variety of reasons. To begin with the immunity gene is incredibly rare and as such there is an extreme shortage of donor stem cells to test.
Either way doctors say this is a good step in the right direction for finding a cure for HIV and AIDS. More research will undoubtedly be conducted based on this story for years to come and a cure may eventually become reality thanks to Brown’s incredible luck.
Posted in Health
Posted on 10 May 2011.
First US Face Transplant Unveiled--http://today.msnbc.msn.com/
This week Dallas Wiens officially unveiled images of his face to the media and the world. Weins is the first United States recipient of a full face transplant and now that his two month recovery period is over he has gone public with the results. Wiens was given the transplant due to injuries he suffered in 2008 and according to doctors the transplant went very well.
Of course besides simply showing his face to the world Wiens also talked to the media. According to Wiens the biggest benefit from the face transplant was the amazing reunion with his daughter.
The overall scope of this full face transplant is quite astonishing according to many medical experts. Wiens face was reportedly so damaged doctors were forced to replace everything including his nose, lips, skin, and even much of the underlying muscles in his face.
These face transplants are becoming much more common worldwide but few face transplants have been as extensive as Wiens’ transplant. Aside from Wiens there has been one other full face transplant which was completed just last month and doctors say it was likely just as successful as Wiens’ transplant. Overall Wiens and his doctors are very impressed with how the transplant worked out as well as how quickly he went through recovery. Thanks to the success of this operation there are currently numerous full face transplants scheduled to be completed in the coming months on a variety of patients around the United States and around the world.
Posted in Health
Posted on 20 April 2011.
Woman Receives Miraculous Hand Transplant
Over 5 years ago Emily Fennell was in a tragic accident which eventually led to her losing a hand; today however her life has officially changed drastically. Fennell was selected as a hand transplant recipient and today she officially came out to show the results of the miraculous surgery.
The amazing transplant took place at UCLA’s hospital which has been considered to be one of the best hospitals nationwide. The surgery took place on March 5th and ever since then Fennell has been undergoing substantial rehab and recovery but now Fennell is recovered enough to live on her own.
Amazingly Fennell has successfully gained the ability to not only move and feel the transplanted hand she is also able to move the fingers on her new hand. Doctors originally believed that the transplant may not be successful but after significant testing doctors realized that Fennell was the perfect candidate. Immediately after the transplant Fennell was unable to feel or utilize the hand completely but doctors say that, just as expected, she has been rapidly gaining feeling and motor skills in the transplant hand. At this point doctors are unable to say exactly how full of a recovery Fennell will be able to make but right now they are hopeful that she will likely have full control and feeling of the hand as if it was her own.
Fennell has voiced repeatedly that she is incredibly happy to have been given this opportunity. Her life changed drastically after she lost her hand and now, 5 years later, everything will slowly begin changing back to a normal lifestyle.
Posted in Health