|Transplant Resource Guide|
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Researchers began experimenting with organ transplantation in animals and humans in the 18th century. Over the years, scientists experienced many failures, but by the mid-20th century, successful organ transplants had been performed. Transplants of kidneys, livers, hearts, lungs, pancreases and small bowels are now considered an accepted part of medical treatment. Bone marrow transplants are saving lives, corneal transplants are restoring sight and medical miracles are happening every day.
In the last 20 years, important medical breakthroughs such as tissue typing and development of immunosuppressive drugs have allowed for more successful organ transplants and a longer survival rate for transplant recipients. The most notable development in this area was Jean Borels discovery of an immunosuppressive drug called cyclosporine in the mid-1970s. This drug was approved for commercial use (in the US) in 1983.
Unfortunately, the need for organ transplants continues to exceed the organ supply. At the time of this writing, ten people die each day (or one person dies every 2 hours and 24 minutes) due to the shortage of transplantable organs; and every 18 minutes a new name is added to the transplant waiting list. But as medical technology improves, and more donors become available, thousands of people each year will live longer and better lives.
Transplant Milestones* in the United States and Canada
1954 1st successful kidney transplant - Dr. Joseph E. Murray, Brigham & Womens Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
1966 1st successful pancreas transplant - Drs. William Kelly and Richard Lillehei, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
1967 1st successful liver transplant - Dr. Thomas Starzl, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, CO
1968 1st successful heart transplant - Dr. Norman Shumway, Stanford University Hospital, Stanford, California
1981 1st successful heart-lung transplant - Dr. Bruce Reitz, Stanford University Hospital, Stanford, California
1983 1st successful single lung transplant - Dr. Joel Cooper, Toronto General Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
1986 1st successful double lung transplant - Dr. Joel Cooper, Toronto General Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
1989 1st successful living-related liver transplant - Dr. Christopher Broelsch, University of Chicago Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois
1990 1st successful living related lung transplant - Dr. Vaughn A. Starnes, Stanford University Medical Center, Stanford, California
* The first Transplant of this kind in the US or Canada, with the recipient surviving for one year or more.
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