A wonderful breakthrough in transplant medicine is also another testimony to the apparent healing power of adult stem cells. Bone marrow transplanted from the organ donor to the organ recipient at the time of the transplant apparently can eventually result in the recipient being liberated from anti-rejection drugs. From the story:
The treatment involved weakening the patient’s immune system, then giving the recipient bone marrow from the person who donated the organ. In one experiment, four of five kidney recipients were off immune-suppressing medicines up to five years later…
[Dr. David]Sachs’ treatment involved weakening each kidney patient’s immune system with intravenous drugs several days before the transplant. After the transplant, the patient got an infusion of marrow from the donor to create a new immune system.
The stem cells from the marrow reprogram the body by allowing new immune cells to grow that don’t try to attack the donated organ. The patients took anti-rejection drugs but were weaned several months later. Four of the five patients developed a hybrid immune system–where recipient and donor cells live together in the body–for a short time. They were able to stop taking anti-rejection drugs and had healthy kidney function two to five years later.
Great news and a wonderful advance for non-controversial biotechnology.