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Biotech Science

50 Years of Organ Transplants 21

Posted by timothy
from the and-I-feel-fine dept.
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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50 Years of Organ Transplants

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  • by AEton (654737) on Tuesday December 21, 2004 @08:02PM (#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!
  • by dshaw858 (828072) on Tuesday December 21, 2004 @08:02PM (#11154182) Homepage Journal
    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
    • by Atrax (249401) on Tuesday December 21, 2004 @08:06PM (#11154218) Homepage Journal
      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....
      • by Anonymous Coward
        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.
  • doesn't appear it will be too long until the face transplant ....

    http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/science/05/26/face.t r 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....
    • 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...
  • 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].
  • "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 m

    • 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.

    • 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, dig

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