- 1901-1903: Discovery of ABO Blood Groups: Viennese physician Karl Landsteiner points out that adverse reactions that occur when humans receive blood from animals may also occur when humans receive blood from other humans. His suggestions receive little attention until 1909, when he classifies the human blood into the A, B, AB, and O groups and shows that catastrophic reactions can occur when a person receives blood from a different group. Compatibility is later found to be not only a requirement for transfusion but for transplantation. In 1930, Landsteiner wins the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for his discovery of human blood groups."
- 1952: First Kidney Transplant: Dr. Hamburger and his team transplant the first human kidney. The kidney is taken from female traffic accident victim and transplanted into her son. The kidney initially functions well, until it is rejected 22 days later.
- 1954: First Successful Live Donor Kidney Transplant: Drs. Joseph E. Murray, Hartwell Harrison, David Hume, and John Merril perform the first successful kidney transplant at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital (now Brigham & Women's Hospital>) in Boston. The transplant is from Ronald Herrick into his identical twin Richard. Richard Herrick lives for another eight years. Murray becomes one of the co-winners of the 1990 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with E.D. Thomas "for their discoveries concerning organ and cell transplantation in the treatment of human disease."
- 1955: First Heart Valve Transplants: Dr. Gordon Murray of Toronto, Ontario, uses the main aortic valve of a male automobile accident victim to perform the world's first heart valve transplant on a patient with a severely leaking aortic valve. The transplanted valve functioned well for over eight years.
- 1967: First Successful Liver Transplant: Dr. Thomas E. Starzl of the University of Colorado in Denver performs the first successful liver transplant. The liver functions for 13 months.
- 1967: First Successful Heart Transplant: Dr. Christiaan Barnard, at Groote Schur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa, transplants the heart of an 18-year-old female car accident victim into Louis Washkansky. He dies 18 days later of pneumonia.
- March 9, 1981: First Successful Heart-Lung Transplant: Dr. Bruce Reitz of Stanford University in California, performs the first successful heart-double lung transplant on 45-year-old Mary D. Golke, who had been diagnosed with primary pulmonary hypertension. Cyclosporine is experimentally used to combat rejection. Golke passed away in May 1986. Golke co-authored a book about her experiences, called I'll Take Tomorrow.
- 1983: Cyclosporine Approved for Use: The US FDA approves Cyclosporine, an immunosuppressant drug isolated from a fungus. Cyclosporine revolutionizes organ transplantation because it selectively suppresses the transplant recipient's immune system, allowing the patient to tolerate the grafted organ but preventing routine infections. Cyclosporine was first shown as an immunosuppressive agent by Swiss physician Jean Borel in 1977.
- 1983: First Successful Single Lung Transplant: Dr. Joel Cooper of the Toronto Lung Transplant Group, Toronto General Hospital (now part of the University Health Network), performs a single lung transplant on 58-year-old Tom Hall, who suffers from pulmonary fibrosis. Hall lives for more than six years before dying of kidney failure.
- 1986: First Successful Double Lung Transplant: Dr. Joel Cooper of the Toronto Lung Transplant Group, Toronto General Hospital (now part of the University Health Network), performs a double lung transplant on Ann Harrison, who suffers from emphysema. Harrison lives until 2001, when she dies of a brain aneurysm.
The listings are quite comprehensive, starting with skin grafts in 400 BCE. There are also links to individual timelines for Bone Marrow Transplants, Heart/Lung transplants, Immunology, Kidney Transplants, Pancreas & Liver transplants and a separate link for other & unusual transplants.
I highly recommend the MedHunters site for anyone interested in the history of transplantation.
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