A significant breakthrough in kidney transplant that sees the recipient of a donor organ not requiring cocktail of medications in other that the host body does not reject the new organ by reprogramming the patient’s immune system.
Eight-year-old Aditi Shankar has become the first child in the UK to receive a special type of kidney transplant that does not require her to take long-term drugs to stop rejection of the organ.
Doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital say the breakthrough was made possible by reprogramming her immune system before giving her the new kidney.
To do that, they used bone-marrow stem cells from the donor – Aditi’s mother which means Aditi’s body accepts the new organ as her own.
Within weeks of the transplant, Aditi was taken off immunosuppression, removing the risk of long-term side-effects from these powerful drugs, which usually have to be taken daily to prevent organ rejection.
She is now back at school, with both her immune system and transplanted kidney working normally.
Aditi has an extremely rare inherited condition, Schimke’s immuno-osseous dysplasia (SIOD), which weakened her immune system and meant her kidneys were failing.
Specialists at Great Ormond Street Hospital spoke with international colleagues about the special transplant approach, which has been used in other children with SIOD.
First, a bone-marrow transplant using stem cells from her mother, Divya, rebuilt Aditi’s immune system.
Six months later, she had a kidney transplant – again donated by her mother – and her immune system accepted the organ.