New procedure makes limb transplant easier

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Zee Media Bureau

New York: A good news for patients suffering from facial injuries or hand/arm amputation. This new hope has come in through a new procedure for limb transplant.

This idea comes from inducing immune tolerance which involves tricking a recipient’s immune system into accepting donor tissue.This could be an ideal solution to free patients from lifelong immuno-suppression, said researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in the US.

“The need for lifelong immuno-suppression to prevent graft rejection is the most important challenge. Most potential recipients of what are called vascularised composite allografts (VCAs) are young and would face increased risks of infection, even some types of cancer, over many years,” said Curtis L. Cetrulo, head of plastic and reconstructive surgery at MGH and senior author.

Vascularised composite allografts involve transplantation of muscle, bone, skin and nerves to replace amputated hands and arms and to repair severe facial injuries,according to the study.

“Bringing immune tolerance to hand and face transplantation would result in a paradigm shift in the way we treat those injuries. Tolerance would give us a unique tool - a real game changer - with which to help these patients,” Cetrulo added.

In several previous attempts to induce VCA tolerance, bone and muscle tissue were accepted but the skin was rejected and eventually separated from the underlying tissue.

“If all goes well, the procedure might be ready for testing in a clinical trial in a year,” added Cetrulo.