Organ Transplant Rejection
If I had an organ that was not functioning properly, first and foremost on my mind in considering an organ transplant would be the issue of organ rejection. Many organ transplants fail due to the host body's efforts to expel the foreign tissue transplanted into the body. The body's uncompromising xenophobia is to blame. Usually a very helpful and natural addition to the body's immune system, xenophobia occurs when the body attacks anything it identifies as foreign. With organ transplants, the body makes no distinction between harmful microbes or the new potentially life-saving organ transplant.
There are several types of organ rejection, hyperacute rejection, acute rejection, and chronic rejection. Hyperacute rejection occurs almost immediately following the organ transplant, within 24 hours. Acute rejection usually occurs within the first week after transplantation. These two rejections are caused by antibodies reacting to the alloantigens of the graft. Chronic rejection is the rejection that poses the greatest risk. This is a slow rejection that begins in the blood vessels of the organ transplant . Inflammation and rejection reactions cause a slow build up of scar tissue inside the blood vessels that will eventually clog the vein or artery. This renders a compromise to the new organ, which no longer is receiving proper oxygen or blood flow.
The rate of organ rejection is estimated between 30% and 60%. Medical research has determined that about 90% of these rejections can now be treated with medications . Constant study and experimentation lead to new advances in transplant technology on a continual basis. Many medications have been discovered that aid in lowering the risk of rejections.
Drugs such as Rapamune, a new immunosuppressant is under review by the United States Food and Drug Administration for successful treatment of chronic rejection, the rejection that is of greatest concern to the medical field . Rapamycin is another immunosuppressant that inhibits the multiplying of smooth muscle cells that cause the scar tissue build up in chronic rejection .
Organ rejection is a major concern for anyone considering undergoing an organ transplant. Fortunately, progress made over the last 30 years has the future for organ transplant recipients looking brighter. This comes with development of various immune-suppressant drugs that retard acute rejection and halt the body's assault on the new organ transplant.