Sunday, July 15, 2007

First lung transplants in mice lay groundwork for new drugs to prevent transplant rejection in humans

By Caroline Arbanas, Washington University in St. Louis

July 11, 2007 -- Lung transplants have been performed successfully for more than 20 years in humans but never before in mice - until now. Surgeons at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have developed the first mouse model of lung transplantation, and they're hoping it will help explain why the success of the procedure in humans lags far behind other solid organ transplants.

Several School of Medicine researchers discuss the importance of an accurate mouse model for studying lung disease in humans.

Ultimately, the mouse model could pave the way for developing new therapies to prevent lung transplant rejection - a major problem that limits the long-term success of the procedure. The mouse model is described in the June issue of the American Journal of Transplantation.

Five years after lung transplant surgery, only about 45 percent of patients are still alive, according to the U.S. Organ and Procurement and Transplantation Network.* This compares with five-year survival rates of about 70 percent for heart and liver transplants and about 80 percent for kidney transplants. About 1,000 lung transplants are performed each year in the United States.

Read the full News Release.

*Surival rates are slightly higher in the 5 year averages when 10 years of transplant data are analyzed. See the 2006 OPTN/SRTR annual report. Merv.

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