Stories tagged organ transplant

Silicon circuit: A protective coating allows this sensor to be implanted in the body in order to detect the presence of proteins that mark the first signs of organ rejection.
Silicon circuit: A protective coating allows this sensor to be implanted in the body in order to detect the presence of proteins that mark the first signs of organ rejection.Courtesy Paul Berger
Researchers from Ohio State University have developed a coating that allows small sensors to function even when in contact with blood, bodily fluids, or living tissue. Currently, the electrical signals in silicon-based, implantable sensors are disrupted by the electrolytes in the body, resulting in unreliable readings. This new, ultra-thin coating blocks the electrolytes and allows the sensors to continue functioning accurately within the body. These coated sensors are first slated to be used to detect early stages of organ transplant rejection, but could have a lot of other possible applications in the future.

Mar
28
2010

Cell Protein: Illustration of protein chain in the human cell.
Cell Protein: Illustration of protein chain in the human cell.Courtesy Nicolle Rager and National Science Foundation
Science Buzz has had a lot of articles on organ transplants over the years but a new report on liver transplants in children adds a new twist. Currently, severe organ damage or failure requires an organ transplant, preferably one from a donor with a histocompatibility similar to the recipient. In the case of severe liver failure in children, there is often no time to wait for a compatible organ and an incompatible organ is used requiring patients to take anti-rejection drugs (immunosuppression) for the rest of their life. In fact, 70% of all liver transplants require anti-rejection drugs.

Fortunately, the liver is one organ that has the ability to regenerate itself, especially in very young patients. The child patient is given a small section of donated liver, enough to allow the body to function properly, while leaving a small portion of their own liver intact. Hopefully, after a few years, the patient’s original liver will begin to repair and regenerate itself. The doctor can than gradually reduce the quantity of anti-rejection drugs, causing the body to slowly attack and destroy the donated liver segment. Eventually the patient will be removed from anti-rejection drugs completely, have their own liver back, and no signs of the temporary donated liver.

The liver is unique in its regenerative properties; for humans, that is. In other animals, such as amphibians, entire limbs can regenerate. Scientists are researching the role proteins play in cell regeneration in hopes that stimulating certain proteins in other organs of the body will encourage them to regenerate like the liver can.

OK, not "on this day." A few days ago. Well, two weeks ago, but the BRIEFING was today. Anyway, in a marathon operation lasting 22 hours, surgeons at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio performed the first face transplant surgery in the United States--replacing 80% of a female patient's face. (This surgery has been done only a few times, and was big news when the world's first face transplant, on Isabelle Dinoire, took place in France in 2006.) More details to come in the next few days.