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Teen Takes On Donor's Immune System

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the you-will-be-assimilated dept.

Science 231

Leibel writes "The Australian ABC News is reporting that a 15-year-old Australian liver transplant patient has defied modern medicine by taking on her donor's immune system. Demi-Lee Brennan had a liver transplant. Nine months later, doctors at Sydney's Westmead Children's Hospital were amazed to find the teenager's blood group had changed to the donor's blood type. They were even more surprised when they found the girl's immune system had almost totally been replaced by that of the donor, meaning she no longer had to take anti-rejection drugs. 'Dr. Michael Stormon says his team is now trying to identify how the phenomenon happened and whether it can be replicated. "That's probably easier said than done... I think it's a long shot," he said. "I think it's a unique system of events whereby this happened. "We postulate there's a number of different issues - the type of liver failure that she had, some of the drugs that we use early on to suppress the immune system and also that she suffered an infection with a virus called CMV, or cytomegalovirus, which can also suppress the immune system."'"

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231 comments

ob. (5, Funny)

russellh (547685) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169650)

kids these days.

Re:ob. (-1, Offtopic)

eviloverlordx (99809) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169694)

Get off my lawn!

She's a MUTIE!!! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22169676)

Kill her! Who knows what other powers she might have?

Re:She's a MUTIE!!! (4, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169858)

Not to mention that, when you get right down to it, she probably just committed a DMCA violation of some kind when copying the host's immune system - probably using radiation from her mobile phone (for the digital angle).

METAMODERATION ALERT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22170356)

Parent is not "redundant". Please punish the retarded moderator. Thank you.

Warring immune systems? (4, Informative)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169728)

Sounds like carbosilicate amorph warfare to me...but then, who'dathunk that the Australians would go in for that schlock?

Actually, if memory serves, NPR had a short bit on a treatment for negating the need for anti-rejection drugs in kidney transplants--they not only transplanted the kidney, but also bone marrow from the donor, and 5 patients out of 6 were able to go off the anti-rejection drugs.

Re:Warring immune systems? (1)

gc141x (944169) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169788)

Maybe they typed the patient incorrectly the first time. Hospitals do it all the time.

Re:Warring immune systems? (1)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169896)

Oh, entirely possible, but that wouldn't explain how she's doing well without the anti-rejection medications--and something tells me that for things like organ transplants, they may test blood type more than once...

Re:Warring immune systems? (5, Informative)

NIckGorton (974753) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170208)

Except that both of her parents are also Rh negative. From the NEJM article: "Nine months after transplantation, a small-bowel obstruction developed, requiring surgical division of adhesions and resection of an ileal band. Routine preoperative blood grouping revealed that the patient's blood group had changed from O, RhD-negative, to O, RhD-positive (the donor's blood group), and a weakly positive direct antiglobulin test indicated coating of red blood cells with IgG antibodies. At that time, there was no evidence of spherocytosis on the blood film to suggest hemolysis; the hemoglobin level was 95 g per liter. This finding was confirmed by the Australian Red Cross Blood Service. Both parents had group O, RhD-negative blood with the phenotype ccdee, whereas their daughter's phenotype was now cDEe. However, serum samples showed mixed-field reactions with anti-D and anti-E typing."

Of course the parents genotype is no absolute guarantee, as it is always "momma's baby, daddy's maybe" but it sounds like they have this pretty well nailed down. She really did develop chimerism.

Re:Warring immune systems? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22170316)

"momma's baby, daddy's maybe"
Not necessarily today, implanting the wrong donor cells does happen.

Re:Warring immune systems? (1)

NIckGorton (974753) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170580)

Yes, but momma is certain to know whether she got assisted reproductive technology (and hence this risk) while daddy's doesn't always know if the wrong sperm were implanted into momma.

Re:Warring immune systems? (1)

RaceCarDriver (856347) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170314)

I can believe that. When I rolled my car I went to the ER and they asked me "what are you allergic to?" and I told them just 1 medicine, Ibuprofen -- causes stroke like effects. Later just before I was let out they gave me a prescription for "Prescription Strength Ibuprofen". They either can't read, or can't enter data properly.

Re:Warring immune systems? (1)

The FNP (1177715) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170594)

You can see the article you're talking about on Wired News [wired.com] . --The FNP

Re:Warring immune systems? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22170604)

Sounds like carbosilicate amorph warfare to me...but then, who'dathunk that the Australians would go in for that schlock?
That pun was horrible. If Howard Tayler were dead, he'd be rolling in his grave (with laughter).

Self-rejection? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22169778)

So if she takes on her donor's immune system, how does that prevent her from rejecting her own body tissues?

Re:Self-rejection? (1, Funny)

xSauronx (608805) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169848)

maybe the tissues are unionized?

Re:Self-rejection? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169924)

Better hope she doesn't cut herself then or she'll cause everyone to start crying!

Re:Self-rejection? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22170218)

Huh?

Re:Self-rejection? (5, Funny)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169952)

Perhaps it has something to do with the virus she caught--it suppressed the immune system to the point where it had to 'reboot', as it were, and apparently recognized the new hardware on boot?

Which would seem to indicate that the immune system BIOS has some kind of PnP support--I guess that'd explain some of the viruses...

Re:Self-rejection? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22169974)

What the hell kind of car analogy is that?

Re:Self-rejection? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22170148)

Oh, man. I wish I had mod points.

Re:Self-rejection? (3, Funny)

IdeaMan (216340) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170196)

Dude... "Get out of the car, get back in the car." It's a classic.

Haven't heard it before? Here goes:
A mechanical engineer, hydraulic engineer, electrical engineer and a computer programmer were riding together in the car, and it stops. They all get out and look at the car. The mechanical engineer checks the tires, the hydraulic engineer checks the brakes, and the electrical engineer checks the voltage on the battery. The computer programmer goes "Guys cmon, all we gotta do is get out of the car and get back in the car". They get back in the car, it starts right back up and they're on their way.

Re:Self-rejection? (1)

Oktober Sunset (838224) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170614)

so that's the purpose of Chinese fire drills.

Re:Self-rejection? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22170866)

Its kinda funny, but my parents had a car like that, it was an older buick century. Occasionally they'd be driving down the highway, and then the engine would die, lights would go off, etc. Pull over, take key out, put key in, turn it back on and it'd be fine for the next couple months, then bam, did it again. After taking it to at least 6 different mechanics, who couldn't find anything wrong, they just lived with it for another couple years til they replaced it.

Re:Self-rejection? (1)

Carbon016 (1129067) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170096)

Nah, the whole thing was all one big System Restore.

Re:Self-rejection? (3, Interesting)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170188)

I'd beg to differ--it's a lot more like a reinstall, because if it was a system restore, she'd have her old liver back. This is more like a patch followed by a virus followed by a manual reinstall of the AV program, which then takes the current contents of the registry as canonical. I guess it only remains to determine what OS this girl's running...

Re:Self-rejection? (1)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170260)

Best hypothesis I read so far.

Re:Self-rejection? (1)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170408)

Being a wireless guy the first thing I thought of is the way the 802.11 IBSS protocol merges ad-hoc cells.

BSOD (2, Funny)

einnar2000 (985070) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170596)

Perhaps it has something to do with the virus she caught--it suppressed the immune system to the point where it had to 'reboot', as it were, and apparently recognized the new hardware on boot? Which would seem to indicate that the immune system BIOS has some kind of PnP support--I guess that'd explain some of the viruses...
A BSOD would truly suck on this type of reboot.

Re:BSOD (2, Funny)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170820)

It would be entirely too literal, that's for sure...

Re:Self-rejection? (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170078)

It's more likely a hybrid immune system at this point. So both body tissue types are accepted.

Re:Self-rejection? (5, Informative)

NIckGorton (974753) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170332)

Nope. Its the boy's immune system now. From the NEJM article:

"The change in this patient from group O, RhD-negative blood to group O, RhD-positive blood suggested the development of chimerism by engraftment of the recipient marrow from passenger hematopoietic stem cells within the transplanted liver. Fluorescence in situ hybridization studies for the X and Y chromosomes were performed on a bone marrow aspirate and peripheral-blood lymphocytes 3 months after the onset of hemolysis (post-transplantation day 395).2 Analysis of cells from the marrow, sorted by means of flow cytometry, showed that they were male (XY) in myeloid, erythroid, and CD19+ B cells. Analysis of peripheral-blood aliquots revealed a predominantly male (donor) population: of 50 T cells, 94% were male and 6% were female; of 50 B cells, 98% were male and 2% were female; of 50 granulocytes, 100% were male; and of 50 natural killer cells, 100% were male"
And that was while she was still on an immune suppression regimen. After they found the results above, they made a decision: "These results suggested that the hemolysis was due to the production of antibodies by residual B lymphocytes in the recipient against engrafted erythroid cells from the donor. A choice between two therapeutic options was then considered: the use of rituximab, an anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody, which would deplete all B cells (both host and donor cells), or withdrawal of all immunosuppressive therapy to allow full engraftment. The decision was made to withdraw the immunosuppressive therapy." After which her immune system essentially became entirely that of the boy whose liver she received. Even to the point that since he hadn't gotten his MMR vaccine, she lost her immunity to measles, mumps, and rubella (which she regained when she was re-immunized.)

Re:Self-rejection? (4, Insightful)

AgentPaper (968688) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170350)

That was precisely my thought - where exactly does this differ from GVH? [wikipedia.org] Any time you have a mismatch between HLA haplotypes on immune cells and other tissue cells, you're going to have an immune reaction, regardless of whose immune cells initiate it. It's rather unique that this occurred in the context of a solid organ transplant - you usually see it with bone marrow - but the underlying process doesn't look any different.

Of course, ABC News isn't exactly a peer-reviewed journal, so I'll reserve full analysis for such time as this patient is written up in the literature, but I'm not seeing anything outside the realms of modern medicine here.

Re:Self-rejection? (1)

zerobeat (628744) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170672)

Her immune system is chimeric. The NEJM article basically says her immune system and blood cells are fusions of her own and the donor - therefore she can tolerate her old body and her new liver - and new immune system as well. Also she now has XY immune cells (the donor was male).

All I can say is Oh Man! - Boom-boom tish!

Is she related to Sigorney Weaver? (2, Funny)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169794)

Is she related to Sigorney Weaver? That may have unexpected consequences, in the long run. What was the name of the company treating the girl again?

Re:Is she related to Sigorney Weaver? (3, Funny)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169892)

weyland yutani Biotech division.

Re:Is she related to Sigorney Weaver? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170252)

It's not a company that's treating her. Some rich philanthropist named Charles Weyland is paying for everything. He's the guy that founded Cyberdyne Systems and sold it to the military a few years back. He apparently even footed the bill for flying in Dr. Yutani from Japan to perform the transplant. Nice guy.

Re:Is she related to Sigorney Weaver? (1)

mcpkaaos (449561) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170280)

Is she related to Sigorney Weaver? That may have unexpected consequences, in the long run. What was the name of the company treating the girl again?

The Company.

Three words: I Am Legend (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22170492)

Stop them now!

But what about her OEM parts? (4, Insightful)

kindbud (90044) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169832)

Wouldn't her new immune system see the rest of her body apart from the liver as a foreign invader, and attack it?

Re:But what about her OEM parts? (1)

Asmor (775910) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170034)

That was my initial thought as well.

Re:But what about her OEM parts? (3, Interesting)

IdeaMan (216340) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170306)

I only thought it was weird that messing with the liver did it. I thought they did it all the time with certain types of leukemia with big doses of radiation, by killing off the patients existing immune system and then doing a bone marrow transplant. Maybe I misunderstood and they were using relatives to donate the bone marrow?

http://www.neurologyreviews.com/dec04/nr_dec04_bonemarrow.html [neurologyreviews.com]
http://www.chemcases.com/cisplat/cisplat20.htm [chemcases.com]

Graft Versus Host Disease (4, Informative)

NIckGorton (974753) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170126)

Yes, its called Graft Versus Host Disease (GVDH), and is a common complication of bone marrow transplantation. If it happens, it manifests as skin, liver, and gut problems mostly. Liver obviously isn't going to be a problem for her, and it sounds like from the original NEJM article I just read that she hasn't had any other manifestations of GVHD. If you are going to get bad GVHD its usually early on, so she's out of that woods, but there is always chronic GVHD manifestations that will show with time.

Though given a choice, I'd take the GVHD risk, lose the immunosuppressants, and never worry that my liver graft would fail. All in all she's a hella lucky kid.

Re:Graft Versus Host Disease (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170582)

Hopefully, they'll study what happened in depth (without treating the kid as a lab experiment). I'm not a bioengineer, but could you determine what caused this and make tailored immune systems for people who either never had a good one through birth defect or lost theirs to HIV/AIDS?

Re:But what about her OEM parts? (1)

kryten_nl (863119) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170458)

No, she re-registered, so everything is fine.

It's my hope that more good news will come by (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169836)

With these developments, it's my hope that more good news will come by. Let me hope that the recipient will not eventually "inherit" the donor's "bad" or weak characteristics. What about DNA? Suppose that the recipient's DNA changes to the donor's?

Re:It's my hope that more good news will come by (1)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169988)

What about DNA? Suppose that the recipient's DNA changes to the donor's?


I really don't see that happening. The best along that line that you could hope for would be a mild to moderate case of chimerism [wikipedia.org] .

Re:It's my hope that more good news will come by (2)

Jerf (17166) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170214)

What about DNA? Suppose that the recipient's DNA changes to the donor's?
What if magic is real and the liver donor curses the recipient from beyond the grave?

It's about as likely.

Re:It's my hope that more good news will come by (0)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170488)

I can assure you that [some] magic is real. From you, I can get glass of water and turn that into dimes you could use at a store...or I can ask you to think of a number and tell you with absolute certainty what that number is.

I can even tell you what underwear you are wearing and what the gender of the person you are going to talk to when you get home is, including what color of watch and shirt/blouse they will be wearing. So be careful man.

IYes, I read TFA (4, Interesting)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169846)

...and the two most interesting words in it were "...stem cells..."

Re:IYes, I read TFA (1)

halivar (535827) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170338)

They're talking about adult stem cells, which are not very interesting because there's no political disagreement about them.

And the bad news..... (1, Funny)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169852)

After 18 months she turned into a clone of the 50 year old male liver donor. Doctor's response, "hey at least the liver works".

Re:And the bad news..... (2, Funny)

LinuxGeek (6139) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170006)

And now she is finding that she lusts after herself.

Re:And the bad news..... (2, Interesting)

TheLink (130905) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170392)

Actually that might happen.

There have been anecdotal (yeah I know) accounts of people receiving transplants and then having personality changes - food preferences or even sexual orientation.

http://www.nexusmagazine.com/articles/CellularMemories.html [nexusmagazine.com]

Whether it's true or not or just self selection bias I don't know. But I won't be surprised if the rest of our organs actually had some influence over what we'd like to put in our stomachs or other "gut feel stuff" ;).

Plus those stem cells do roam about. After all there's been reports of mothers having cells of their sons in various parts of their bodies - brains etc.

Cure worse than the disease? (4, Interesting)

cvd6262 (180823) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169856)

If CMV was really the cause of this strange, but fortunate, occurence, that's a tough one.

CMV is no laughing matter. It's one of the opportunistic diseases that immuno-deficit people have to worry about. It can lead to blindness and a slew of other complications.

The best we can hope for (if CMV is to thank for this effect) is that they can isolate the mechanism and replicate it. You wouldn't want to use CMV in this way.

Re:Cure worse than the disease? (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170308)

I've actually heard of cases of this in the past, where the only reason the doctors noticed was because the recipient had gained the donor's peanut allergy. Perhaps that means it's not related to the CMV, but merely that the liver does more than we think...

The implications are much more profound than that (4, Interesting)

Phoenix666 (184391) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169862)

The implications for immunology and organ transplants are amazing, but it goes even further than that. If you can induce stem cells to penetrate a patient's bone marrow, then you open the door to all kinds of innovations.

Imagine if they could take a sample of your DNA, correct inherited defects, and then re-implant you with stem cells carrying the corrected sequence. It would mean hope for victims of all kinds of diseases like Tay-Sachs or Kreuzfeld-Jacob.

At the very least, the promise of being able to transfer immunological memory on the marrow level potentially means that all we have to do is find the one person whose immune system wipes out HIV, say, and we can all receive that same immunity.

Re:The implications are much more profound than th (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22170568)

[...] means that all we have to do is find the one person whose immune system wipes out HIV, say, and we can all receive that same immunity.
I think we're gonna call that:

I Am Legend

2 questions (5, Interesting)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169878)

As someone who has received a renal Tx and who also has a degree in Anat.,Phys.&Biochem. I have 2 questions.

  1. If her immune system has been replaced by her donors, won't her other organs/tissues (her own) be rejected by her new (her donor's) immune system?
  2. They gave her a liver from someone with a different blood type?!? I know other markers as well as blood type are taken into account (and in hepatic Tx urgency is another factor), but I thought a blood type match was the minimum requirement.

Re:2 questions (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170190)

That bothered me too. I ain't no biologist, but I thought that they had to have same blood types(family donors preferred). It reminds me of the movie Turistas(in which tourists were kidnapped so that they could have their organs removed and sold on the black market to be transplanted into people who were of a different nationality). Was it a risky medical breakthrough or was it another article from the ministry of truth? ;)

Re:2 questions (2, Informative)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170388)

If the blood type were AB to begin with, it could probably handle a liver from A, B or O.

Re:2 questions (3, Informative)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170740)

True to a certain extent. AB could probably handle O, but AB couldn't handle A or B (just the same as A couldn't handle B or vice versa). Having the A markers yourself, as an AB, doesn't neutralise the problems with the B vs A clashwith your B markers and their A markers).

Certainly, when reciving blood, if she was AB positive, she can be a universal recipient. But that would be for an emergency blood transfusion. In an organ transplant situation it would be too risky.

Just as a side note. The problems with different blood types in blood transfusions is less to do with rejection by the immune system and more to do with the blood cells co-aggulating. With a transplant the problem is more to do with rejection by the immune system.

Re:2 questions (1)

NIckGorton (974753) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170544)

If her immune system has been replaced by her donors, won't her other organs/tissues (her own) be rejected by her new (her donor's) immune system?
Yes, but GVHD is not as bad as the combination of host versus transplant graft plus immune suppression. There is some talk of doing BMTs with other solid organ transplants to do exactly what this girl did spontaneously. Also, in the case of GVHD, the immune system is attacking OEM parts so they are healthier to start with than transplanted tissue.

They gave her a liver from someone with a different blood type?!? I know other markers as well as blood type are taken into account (and in hepatic Tx urgency is another factor), but I thought a blood type match was the minimum requirement
Not if you are going to die tomorrow. Once we get the liver equivalent of dialysis, this will change, but until then the threat of death from fulminant liver failure trumps the concern over graft rejection. Plus in kids there is a little more wiggle room (since they have more adaptable immune systems.) So while the ABO type has to be the same (which they were in this case), they will accept Rh type mismatches. Though they were actually a really poor match. The HLA status of the donor was A34,68;B50,76;DR4,13, while the recipient's HLA status was A2,24;B37,62;DR7,9. That is, 0 for 6.

Re:2 questions (4, Informative)

Grym (725290) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170882)

If her immune system has been replaced by her donors, won't her other organs/tissues (her own) be rejected by her new (her donor's) immune system?

A better article [yourguide.com.au] on this case described her original blood group to be Type O negative(-) with her new blood group being Type O positive(+).

In this special instance, there would be no reaction. Simply stated, anti-bodies can only be generated for antigens. Thus, you cannot have a humeral immune response based upon a lack of an antigen. This, incidentally, is the same reason why a type AB positive(+) person can receive blood transfusions from any blood group.

They gave her a liver from someone with a different blood type?!? I know other markers as well as blood type are taken into account (and in hepatic Tx urgency is another factor), but I thought a blood type match was the minimum requirement.

This is a good point. I can only guess that because the recipient's blood type was rare (approximately 9% of the population in Australia, according to wikipedia) and that the donors blood type was close (and perhaps their major histocompatibility was good too), other factors like urgency might have taken precedence over the ideal hope of a "perfect match."

-Grym

Just overnight (1, Funny)

MouseR (3264) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169888)

... liver costs will skyrocket.

Or, they mixed the test results up (1)

cavtroop (859432) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169890)

and will be issuing an embarrassing retraction here in a few days :)

Re:Or, they mixed the test results up (1)

drewmoney (1133487) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170624)

Not only were the test results mixed up, the Liver was labeled wrong and that's not her real daddy...

How cool would it be.. (2, Interesting)

djlemma (1053860) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169894)

..to be able to transplant a new immune system into a patient with, say, some immune deficiency virus.. and potentially be able to add years to their life. Maybe you wouldn't need to bother with the anti-rejection drugs since the immune system of the patient would already be suppressed by the virus. I know it probably can't work that way, but I imagine that any major breakthroughs in the study of the human immune system will have relevance in AIDS/HIV research.

Re:How cool would it be.. (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170102)

damn that is a good thought, and I was wondering the same thing. Maybe AIDS/HIV patients could get a bone marrow transplant that would reintialize their immune system curing them of it.

We just might be 5 years away from at least a partial cure.

Re:How cool would it be.. (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170814)

A better question would be how exactly is this even happening? for the recipient to have taken on the immune system/blood type of the donpr there would need to be some way for these cells to develop in the first place. in other words, stem cells that can differentiate into such a complex system. knowing what caused it and how we can suplicate the effect if it did indeed occur in this manner has unimaginable potential for treating disease.

Faster than farming rep! (1)

_14k4 (5085) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169934)

Wow, that's awesome. The first thing I thought of was, "wow, that was a lot of rep to farm to switch from scryer to aldor."

I'm a sad sad man.

Could this possibly be (2, Insightful)

Babu 'God' Hoover (1213422) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169984)

a lab error?

The donor was asked for comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22169994)

All your immune systems are belong to us.

Possible HIV/AIDS treatment? (1)

fuocoZERO (1008261) | more than 6 years ago | (#22169996)

If doctors are able to replicate the immune system replacement, might we have a treatment for HIV/AIDS in patients that are able to (nearly) eliminate the virus, but suffer from an extremely damaged immune system?

Mutant? (1)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170008)

I think she's a mutant and whenever she needs a new body part, she'll just go and hack one off another person's body and use it. Now, she just needs a cool nickname like" Wolverine, Storm, Mystique or something like that.

I for one welcome our new mutant overlords.

Re:Mutant? (2, Funny)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170076)

whenever she needs a new body part, she'll just go and hack one off another person's body and use it. Now, she just needs a cool nickname

How about "Frankenstein"?

Re:Mutant? (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170386)

Technically, she is a Chimera.

Amazing (1)

Bicx (1042846) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170038)

Once again the human body demonstrates the brilliance of its design...

And yes, it will blend.

Re:Amazing (1)

shadowcabbit (466253) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170158)

And yes, it will blend.

But only once every twenty years to a lifetime.

Just like a new treatment to prevent rejection (1)

shankarunni (1002529) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170046)

Just today, I read an article [boston.com] about a new treatment to prevent rejection in transplants, that mirrors this story almost exactly.

Except that the treatment involves explicit transplantation of the original donor's bone marrow into the recipient, in addition to the organ being transplanted. Mostly for live-donor transplants from related donors.

Accidents (2, Insightful)

dj245 (732906) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170052)

It often takes accidents or other strange happenstances to spur innovation and invention. See Penicillin or any other number of other examples.

sounds pretty cool . . . (2, Interesting)

spamking (967666) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170084)

If they can reproduce this situation it'll be huge.

If in fact they do reproduce it, do you think the doctors/researchers will get some sort of Nobel Prize?

WonderLiver! (1)

eronysis (928181) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170098)

I think we need to get a nice chunk of that liver and grow one for everyone...

But What About...? (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170124)

the girl's immune system had almost totally been replaced by that of the donor, meaning she no longer had to take anti-rejection drugs.

But what about all the rest of her body that was still running on the old immune system?

Changing our blood (1)

lpangelrob (714473) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170130)

What would be really neat is if in 150 years, we could use this trick to make everyone's blood O-negative.

Odds are we'll find a way to create effective blood substitutes well before then, but it would take some complexity out of the whole blood donor - donator process.

Re:Changing our blood (2, Insightful)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170248)

I'd not take that therapy, m'self--I've got AB+, so you can throw pretty much anything into me and I'll take it. Also, it's not just the blood type of the red cells that matters--the plasma has a type, as well, and it turns out that AB+ plasma can be given to anyone without any trouble.

In addition, there are other possible consequences--some blood types, for instance, survive Bubonic Plague a lot more than other blood types, due to the similarity of surface proteins between certain kinds of blood cells and those found on plague bacteria--changing everyone to the same blood type would thus increase the likelihood that some lucky bacterium could wipe out the human race with a fortuitous mutation. ;-p

This is nothing new (-1, Offtopic)

east coast (590680) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170172)

I heard this happened to Hannibal Lechter after he got a liver from a census taker.

Someone explain please (1)

MacarooMac (1222684) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170230)

Is it due to her bone marrow mysteriously becoming populated with stem cells from the donor which has caused the change in both her blood type and her immune system?

NPR Story on new transplant techniques (4, Interesting)

spoonboy42 (146048) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170246)

This story actually coincides with an interesting story [npr.org] that ran on NPR yesterday about several experimental new transplant techniques that might help future transplant patients avoid having to take anti-rejection drugs, as well.

In particular, the article tells the story of one 28-year-old woman who received a kidney transplant from her mother, who was only a partial match. Prior to the kidney transplant, she also received a partial bone marrow transplant from her mother. The bone marrow transplant essentially caused the patient's immune system to become a "blend" of her own and her mother's, producing T-cells that would attack bacterial and viral antigens just like normal, but leave the transplanted kidney alone.

The results are pretty impressive. The patient originally had to take anti-rejection drugs after her first kidney transplant at age 13, and they caused a host of miserable side effects. After her more recent transplant, however, she's been off the drugs for five years and even ran 2 marathons last year (how's that for healthy?).

Unfortunately, the new technique only works for organs that you intentionally plan on transplanting ahead of time, since the bone marrow has to be transplanted first in a separate surgery. That means that organ donors who die and donate hearts, livers, etc. aren't really an option. But for a transplant from a living donor, this is a very promising new technique (some of the researchers even think that it could eventually make transplants from animals possible).

Re:NPR Story on new transplant techniques (1)

Ritorix (668826) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170440)

From TFA: "Further tests revealed the stem cells from the donor liver had penetrated her bone marrow."

There was a similar article on the BBC today at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7205094.stm [bbc.co.uk]

It looks like the same cause in both the girl and the kidney transplants - stem cells getting into the bone marrow. Maybe they could avoid the marrow transplant if there was a way to produce stem cells of the donor, perhaps from the donated organ.

The real question is... (0, Offtopic)

Leptok (1096623) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170278)

Is she hot?

Retro movie remakes (2, Funny)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170302)

"They saved Hitler's liver!"

This is not really as unusual as you think (2, Interesting)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170358)

In Medical Genetics, we are very aware that the mother can frequently have immunities from all the embryonic stem cells from all her children, as well as her mother's children, and that later children have such stem cells and immunities from all their siblings - including from many of the non-viable pregnancies (not as much the ones that don't survive a few weeks, but stillborn children). Twins - fraternal, as identical have same germ line - share the cells of their siblings. Some twins are reabsorbed into the other twin, as well, resulting in a surviving child with both genetic structures, one predominant but the other continuing to "live" inside the body in survivor cells.

The great thing about Pluripotent Stem Cells is that we may be able to do similar things by altering your own tissue into an embryonic cell, fixing the genetic deficit, and reinjecting the functional cells into your own body, where they can have a functioning immune system that is totally compatible with your own body and not be rejected.

Science Rules!

Dagnabit! (1)

oddaddresstrap (702574) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170368)

Just when we think we've got everything figured out, some little twerp comes along and throws a monkey wrench in the works!

Sounds like malpractice. (2, Interesting)

|/rad|/oder (202635) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170456)

Is it normal to transplant livers across blood types? This sounds like a nearly missed case of malpractice.

I smell... (1)

daninspokane (1198749) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170720)

...A "House" episode

no antirejection medecine? (1)

amigabill (146897) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170806)

I would have thought that if the donor's immune system took over the recipient's, then OK it would not attack the new liver which it recognized as its own, but I'd be concerned about it attacking EVERYTHING ELSE that was the recipient's own. So the liver donor, who would have rejected anything translplanted into him from this girl, is NOT rejcting her entire (less liver) body?? Weird...

New joke (1)

xming (133344) | more than 6 years ago | (#22170810)

In Australia the donor immunes you.

That's how ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22170904)

Sylar.
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