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Northwestern Memorial Transplant Program Initiates New Study
Date:1/22/2008

Study seeks to wean certain kidney transplant recipients off anti-rejection drugs following surgery

CHICAGO, Jan. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- After a transplant surgery, anti-rejection drugs for the organ recipient are a must, but with prolonged use can have serious side effects, including infections, heart disease and cancer. A team led by Joshua Miller, MD, a researcher at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, is working with Northwestern Memorial Hospital's department of organ transplantation to enroll qualifying subjects in a new research study that seeks to transplant stem cells from a kidney donor's bone marrow into the recipient, with the hope of gradually eliminating the need for anti-rejection drugs. If research proves successful, it would mean a dramatic change in the post-transplant quality of life for the transplant recipient.

Northwestern is the only center in Chicago and one of four centers nationally looking at this topic. The Feinberg School of Medicine has received a four-year, $2.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to enroll 20 patients in the study, which is called "Donor Stem Cells, Campath, T/B Cell Regulation In HLA-Identical Renal Transplants."

The first subjects to participate in the study underwent kidney transplant surgery on Thursday, Jan. 10. Sharon Flood of Pingree Grove, Ill. donated her kidney to her brother Steven Yelk of Gurnee, Ill., who suffers from polycystic kidney disease (PKD), which causes cysts filled with fluid to form throughout the kidneys. Eventually, these cysts take over the healthy kidney tissue and the kidneys fail. "Our family is very close and there are seven brothers and sisters. I was thrilled to learn that I was a match and would be able to help Steven," Sharon commented before the surgery.

Joseph Leventhal, MD, PhD, transplant surgeon, associate professor of surgery and director of the Living Donor Renal Transplant Program at Northw
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SOURCE Northwestern Memorial Hospital
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