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50 Years of Organ Transplants

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the and-I-feel-fine dept.

Biotech 21

Iphtashu Fitz writes "On December 23, 1954, Richard Herrick made history by becoming the first successful recipient of a donated organ. His twin brother Ronald sacrificed one of his kidneys, which prolonged Richards life by another 8 years. In the last 12 years alone over 416,000 people have received organ transplants (an average of almost 100 a day), and one man has now lived 42 years with a donated kidney. Since that first historic operation in 1954 surgeons have learned how to transplant virtually every vital organ in the human body, and have even performed two hand transplants. Some doctors have also experimented with transplanting organs from other species into humans. What's next on the path to a full-fledged Frankenstein monster? How about a face transplant? Just last month the Cleveland Clinic was given permission to attempt the procedure and they are now searching for a suitable patient."

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And don't forget (3, Funny)

AEton (654737) | more than 9 years ago | (#11154181)

the heartbreaking story of the boy with just a burlap sack for a body [everything2.com] . It's a Christmas classic. (It is not to be confused with what is probably the saddest thing ever [everything2.com] , which probably is.)

More seriously: I'm still most impressed by the eight new parts [slashdot.org] in the six-month-old. It's like a flawless victory in a game of Operation, without the annoying buzzer sound!

The growth of medicine (3, Insightful)

dshaw858 (828072) | more than 9 years ago | (#11154182)

I find it fascinating that 50 years ago, a landmark point of surgury (organ transplant) was first successfully done. It makes me wonder if in another 50 years the organs will be home-grown for the patient, no longer requiring donors. It's amazing how fast medicine is advancing.

- dshaw

Re:The growth of medicine (4, Insightful)

Atrax (249401) | more than 9 years ago | (#11154218)

It makes me wonder if in another 50 years the organs will be home-grown for the patient, no longer requiring donors.

If we can manage to get past the religious nutters and get some serious stem cell research done, this could be a distinct possibility. As it is, progress is stymied. Which is a real shame.

Good to see California standing up for stem cell research though. And Europe. And the rest of the developed world....

Re:The growth of medicine (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11157582)

I fully support any form of stem cell research, but your statement left out some key facts. In the US, stem cell research is still legal. The government can even fund stem cell research, as long as it uses pre-existing stem-cell lines (or uses non-human or non-embryonic stem cells).

The only restriction is that public money cannot be used to fund research that uses new human embryonic stem cells created after a certain date.

Re:The growth of medicine (1)

D0 J00 W4n7 K4r473 (841018) | more than 9 years ago | (#11161180)

I'm all for stem cell research as long as it's not destroying embryos to get the stem cells. I hear stem cells can be obtained other ways, from adults even. I hear that some of those adult stem cells are just as good as the embryonic stem cells. Why are the stem cell research proponents hell bent on embryonic stem cells when there are other, less morally and ethically questionable, options available?

On a lighter note:
  1. Collect stem cells
  2. ?
  3. Profit!

Dr White (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11154226)

None of this organ transplant shit would be necessary if the world had let Dr. White continue his research into head transplants.

Re:Dr White (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11154321)

clicky click [bennun.biz]

Stop apostrophe abuse! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11154309)

in the blurb:

"which prolonged Richards life by another 8 years"

that would be "Richard's Life" then.

Re:Stop capitalization abuse! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11160108)

In the comment:

in the blurb:

"which prolonged Richards life by another 8 years".

that would be "Richard's Life" then.

That would be, "In the blurb:", and "That would be Richard's life" then," then.

face transplant (1)

jokach (462761) | more than 9 years ago | (#11154350)

doesn't appear it will be too long until the face transplant ....

http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/science/05/26/face.tr ansplant/ [cnn.com]

In this case its looked upon as being something that can benefit burn victims and people with severe disfigurement, but how long until it starts getting done, just because ... well, "I don't like my forehead" ...

looks like another question of ethics....

Re:face transplant (1)

avidmerion (840875) | more than 9 years ago | (#11157139)

Oh god, this means Lucid Dream are going to thaw out Tom Cruise sometime next year. No wonder it has taken such a long time to make a decision - talk about an ethical dilema...

Re:face transplant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11160281)

"I don't like my forehead"

Unhappy woman says, "I want HER forehead!"

Suitable candidates? (1)

blamanj (253811) | more than 9 years ago | (#11154639)

How about a face transplant? Just last month the Cleveland Clinic was given permission to attempt the procedure and they are now searching for a suitable patient.

Well, they could start here [google.com] .

p:3:n:1:s t.r.a.n.s.p.l.a.n.t.a.t.i.o.n (1)

niff (175639) | more than 9 years ago | (#11154699)

O:rd:e:r N:0:w

Re:p:3:n:1:s t.r.a.n.s.p.l.a.n.t.a.t.i.o.n (1)

kusanagi374 (776658) | more than 9 years ago | (#11155399)

That would effectively kill the v14gr4 spams by rendering it useless :P

test (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11156265)

test comment, ignore

The windchill factor is a mystery (0, Offtopic)

dolphin558 (533226) | more than 9 years ago | (#11156432)

No, the windchill factor is a unique phenomenon known to man. The effect of wind on the body's perception of temperature is intangible yet shared by all human beings. Pretty interesting stuff.

Brain? (1)

cuteseal (794590) | more than 9 years ago | (#11157285)

"Since that first historic operation in 1954 surgeons have learned how to transplant virtually every vital organ in the human body"

What about brain transplants? Like if someone had a terminally ill body but a perfectly good brain, theoretically they could extend their existence by assimilating .. err i mean finding another host. I wonder whether that's been done before?

I heard a while back that it was unsuccessfully performed on some primates - the recipient survived for a couple of hours (or was it minutes) and then died.

Re:Brain? (1)

mOoZik (698544) | more than 9 years ago | (#11158032)

Better yet, upload one's brain contents into the computer and live forever! Seriously, there are far too many problems with organ transplants, let alone the MOST complex organ, the brain. One step at a time.

Re:Brain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11160889)

the brain version would suffer death so you would die and a copy would exist ...pls debate lol

Re:Brain? (1)

reverseengineer (580922) | more than 9 years ago | (#11161738)

There several reasons why a brain transplant would be far more difficult than any other organ transplant. Foremost among them is the difficulty in reattaching/regrowing nerves. Even in cases of hand transplants, which do reattach nerves, patients generally do not recover the full control and tactile sensitivity of a normal hand. In particular, the twelve pairs of cranial nerves would have to be reattached and made functional again- without them, the patient would be unable to speak, see, hear, smell, digest food, or even breathe. Might as well stay in the terminally ill body.

Also, unlike other organs, the brain does not take well to transportation. Unlike a liver, kidney, or even heart, you can't just keep a brain in a cooler filled with ice, contrary to what Aqua Teen Hunger Force teaches us. Brain cells deprived of oxygen can begin to die in as few as 5 minutes. Once again, who even among the terminally ill would want to attempt a brain transplant if by far the most likely outcomes were death, a vegetative state, or other severe brain damage?

That being said, I wouldn't consider such a transplant to be forever outside the abilities of surgeons. Keeping a brain alive outside the body should not be an insurmountable challenge- you might be able to store it in an oxygenated blood substitute like PFC, for instance. And of course after decades of work, advances in reattaching and regenerating nerves are being made that once seemed impossible. Nevertheless, I think due to sheer complexity a successful human brain transplant will not take place in the next 50 years, and if anything, the need for such a procedure will have been made obsolete by the possibility of transfer of human consciousness to digital media, as was suggested by another poster.

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