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

estern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, preformed the kidney donor's surgery and Michael Abecassis, MD, MBA, chief of the division of transplantation, and dean of clinical affairs for Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, performed the recipient's surgery.

"The surgery was successful, everything went according to plan and the new kidney is functioning well," said Dr. Abecassis. From here, the kidney recipient will begin the experimental portion of the study.

This study is open to HLA-identical sibling kidney donor and recipient pairs. HLA, or human leukocyte antigen, is one of a group of proteins found on the surface of white blood cells and other cells that play an important part in the body's immune response to foreign substances. These antigens vary from person to person, and an HLA compatibility test is performed before organ transplantation to find out if tissues match between a donor and a recipient.

The study is limited to only HLA-identical sibling pairs because these siblings genetically have a more similar set of immunologic markers than a non-related HLA-identical pair. Because this population has the closest genetic relationship, they have the best chance for success with the study. Overall, HLA-identical siblings have very low rejection rates for kidney transplants but until now have still required immunosuppressive drugs to be taken for life.

How does it work?

Stem cells are formed at the marrow and are common blood cells from which other specialized blood cells, like immune cells, develop. These stem cells are considered important to help prevent rejection of the kidney transplant. By transplanting these cells from the kidney donor into the recipient, the study seeks to prove that the stem cells will mature in the recipient's body and will allow his immune system to accept the new organ as his own.

For the kidney donor, the laparoscopic surgery occurs in the standard man
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SOURCE Northwestern Memorial Hospital
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