Organ Transplant Essay

1265 Words 6 Pages
History of Organ Transplants
The first organ transplants took place in 200 BC. A Chinese physician, Hua-Tuo, is said to have replaced diseased organs with healthy ones. He is also the first physician to use anaesthesia. Both of these are significant. Organs could be replaced and anaesthetics were available.
Not much is recorded about organ transplants until the late 17th and early 18th centuries, when experiments with animal to human blood transfusions, skin grafts, and animal to human transplants were trialled with varying degrees of success.
The year 1940 is significant, as UK researcher Peter Medawar, began to identify the immunological process underlying tissue rejection. This impacted on the success rate of transplants.
In 1954 the first
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The success story of a heart transplant by Dr Barnard in South Africa, in 1968, swept around the world and suddenly life took on a new meaning.
A major breakthrough in 1983 with a drug, cyclosporine, prevented tissue rejection, a major problem with transplant procedures. Other drugs followed and transplant success seemed inevitable.
The 1980’s also saw a number of laws & acts passed, regulating organ transplants. This was to try and make this process fair and equitable. In Australia and New Zealand there is a Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ), who monitor, adapt, review and pass guidelines relating to organ transplants.
Transplant rejection may now be decreased due to new research in the USA as reported by Medical News Today. A treatment strategy at the time of transplant may be able to spare patients from lifelong immunosuppressive treatments and their side effects. (Medical News Today, 2014)
The most recent breakthrough has been in Britain where “scientists have for the first time grown a complex, fully functional organ from scratch in a living animal by transplanting cells that were originally created in a laboratory. The advance could in future aid the development of ‘lab-grown’ replacement organs”. (Centre for Regenerative Medicine,
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Problems Associated With Organ Transplants There is a range of problems associated with organ transplants. Most people can lead a fairly normal life, but, the immunosuppressant drugs can pose some other potential health problems. These can include diabetes, high blood pressure, gastro intestinal problems, gout, anxiety and depression, sexual problems, and unwanted hair growth. Some of these need medical intervention and some are reduced by living a healthy lifestyle. Organ rejection is a negative outcome for a recipient. Immunosuppressant drugs are used to prevent organ rejection by the body’s immune system. The immune system usually protects the body from harmful substances by recognising the antigens on these substances as foreign and attacks them. The immune system potentially recognises the antigens on a transplanted organ as foreign and so attacks it. Tissue typing is used to try and closely match donor and recipient tissue to minimise this.
Drugs are also used to suppress the body’s natural defence system so recipients need to take precautions as their immune system is weaker. These include avoiding crowds or sick people, no gardening, no grooming pets, good dental hygiene and not ignoring cuts and scratches. For some these can be major lifestyle

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