Scientists think they've found the molecular basis for organ transplant rejection. Now that we know its cause, could we prevent its effect?

SeekerPublished: July 10, 2018Updated: July 11, 2018
Published: July 10, 2018Updated: July 11, 2018

Imagine waiting for a new lung or kidney transplant... you finally get one, go through intense surgery, and then after a few years, your body rejects that vital organ. Heartbreaking, right?

Transplant rejection happens, and more often than you'd think. About 50% of all transplanted organs are rejected within 10-12 years. That's a staggering number. Organ rejection happens at the molecular level, something just isn't compatible. Finally, scientists think they've uncovered the basis of this response. This is a metaphorically-huge-but-literally-microscopic-thing! So we have to understand how the body deals with a foreign lung or liver or whatever. And that relationship starts with the immune system.

So, let's say you're getting a new kidney ... It's a whole ecosystem of living things. And it's alien. The immune system knows this because the cells on the donor organ are different . But once it knows, it's definitely not going to ignore it. As far as the immune system is concerned it could be a giant virus or poison! So, it tries to get rid of it! Your immune system is designed to attack anything it doesn't recognize. And there are two main parts within the human immune system that are responsible for this 1-2 punch: the innate immune system and the adaptive immune system.

The adaptive immune system response is what you think of, when you think "immune system." This is defcon 1. White blood cells, are ready to attack the invader. But, white bloods don't just attack anything. They need a snitch. They need to be told what to attack. That's what's been elusive for scientists, the triggers for the innate immune system response. How do the t-cells get fired up enough to attack your shiny new organ? Bear with me, we're about to get real molecular.

 

Get 15% off Domain web hosting and domain names when you use coupon code SEEKER at checkout!

This video, "Scientists think they've found the molecular basis for organ transplant rejection. Now that we know its cause, could we prevent its effect?", first appeared on seeker.com.

Be the first to suggest a tag

    Comments

    0 comments