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Immuno suppression - Is less better ?
How much Immuno suppression is enough for lung transplant patients has been a question that doctors have struggled with for years? It could well mean the difference between life and death for a patient because these drugs, which suppress the immune system and prevent rejection, also make the transplant patient more susceptible to infection and cancer.
Lungs are particularly sensitive to both rejection and infection, which gives recipients one of the lowest survival rates in all transplant medicine. About 25% of lung recipients die in the first year; half die within five years. Now a new study conducted by the university of Pittsburgh Medical Center seems to suggest that decreasing the amount of immunosuppressive drugs a lung recipient takes increases survival to 87% at one year without increasing organ rejection.
The results are encouraging to surgeons who also are trying to reduce the rate of cancer in transplant recipients. Traditional immunosuppressive drugs have led to high rates of cancer – one in five lung recipient’s gets cancer within five years. The immune system is a key defense against cancer. By weakening it, tumors grow more easily.
The Pittsburgh study is relatively small. Only 80 patients have used the less-is-better technique since 2002, and doctors say more work is needed.
- Shroff S, Navin S. Immuno suppression - Is less better ?. Indian Transplant Newsletter Vol. VI Issue NO.: 19 (February 2005)
- Shroff S, Navin S. Immuno suppression - Is less better ?. Indian Transplant Newsletter Vol. VI Issue NO.: 19 (February 2005). Available at:
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- Keywords: Immuno, Suppression