American Profit-Driven Health Care System provides New Hope for Transplant Patients

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 11th, 2012

Week in Review

There’s good news and bad news for transplant patients.  The good news is that Obamacare is not yet fully implemented.   The bad news is that unless the new President and/or Congress repeals Obamacare, it will be.  And if and when that happens developments like this will be a thing of the past (see Immune system tricked to accept donor organs: study by Julie Steenhuysen posted 3/9/2012 on Reuters).

Scientists have found a way to trick the immune system into accepting organs from a mismatched, unrelated organ donor, a finding that could help patients avoid a lifetime of drugs to prevent rejection of the donated organ…

With conventional organ transplants, recipients need to take pills to suppress their immune systems for the rest of their lives. These drugs can cause serious side effects, including high blood pressure, diabetes, infection, heart disease and cancer.

This new approach would potentially offer a better quality of life and fewer health risks for transplant recipients,” Dr. Suzanne Ildstad, director of the Institute of Cellular Therapeutics at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, who developed the new approach, said in a statement.

The new technique draws on research by Australian immunologist Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet and Brazilian-born British zoologist Peter Medawar, who won the 1960 Nobel Prize for discovering that the immune system in animals can be trained to acquire tolerance of foreign tissue.

But it has been a long road to bring this about in people, says Dr. Joseph Leventhal, a transplant surgeon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, where the transplants took place.

To get transplant recipients to accept the donor organ, the team needs to condition” them by suppressing their body’s bone marrow with chemotherapy and radiation before transplanting the donor’s bone marrow, the soft fatty tissue inside bones. Bone marrow contains immature blood-forming stem cells that give rise to all blood cells, including immune system cells.

The idea here is to try to use donor-derived stem cells to achieve engraftment, a state we call chimerism,” Leventhal, a co-author of the study, said in a telephone interview. Here what we are trying to do is get donor and recipient cells to peacefully coexist in the transplant recipient.”

About a month before transplant surgery, kidney donors must inject themselves with a medication for several days that forces stem cells and other key cells called facilitating cells” into their bloodstream, from where they can be collected and sent off to the University of Louisville for processing.

Leventhal said these facilitating cells” are naturally occurring cells that help create a more favorable environment for the stem cells and allow engraftment to occur safely.

Ildstad has developed a process for enriching these cells and formed a company called Regenerex LLC, which is developing the patented technology.

Louisville, Kentucky?  Chicago, Illinois?  And American pharmaceutical company?  An amazing new procedure?  See a pattern here?  The American health care system.  At least, pre-Obamacare.  Because up until Obamacare health care in America was a profit-driven system.  Providing huge financial incentives to encourage investors to invest in things exactly like this.  This did not come out of the UK.  Where their nationally funded National Health Service (NHS) is bursting at the seams due to out of control costs.  And causing great government deficits.  Where their focus is on cost cutting.  And the rationing of services.  To keep the NHS afloat.  Where investors don’t take financial risks.  Taxpayers just pay more.

This will be the future in America under Obamacare.  A change from where investors help bring about amazing new procedures and drugs.  To one where the focus is on cost cutting.  And the rationing of services.  At least based on all the empirical evidence we have so far.

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