Ok, this was on slashdot a couple days ago, so in net-time that means ages ago, but I just can’t stop thinking about it: Australian scientists have found a different way to stop the human body from rejecting organ transplants. One that does not depend on taking hardcore immunosuppressants.
According to the article, the treatment uses natural regulatory T cells to damp down the response of killer T cells (the ones which attack foreign material in the body, such as viruses, bacteria and transplanted organs).
The cool thing is that a) this is more natural and b) the treatment is short-term. According to the people involved, the treatment should only last for 2 or 3 weeks. Which means that the patient rests/recouperates in a clean-room, and afterwards is ready to go home. All done. Not so for the current treatment which uses immunosuppressants, which are basically toxic substances which can sometimes do more harm than good, and need to be administered for a much longer period, with all manner of possible adverse side-effects.
So why is this cracking my nut? Because even though the first succesful trials have only been performed on mice to date, the trials involved the implantation of pancreas islet cells into diabetic mice.
I seriously hope they can get this standardised and approved for human application ASAP. As in yesterday.