Replacement of an organ increases the life span and contributes to
the well being of many patients with kidney, heart or liver
failure. Pharmaceuticals patients with kidney failure can be
treated by dialysis, the best solution is for them to receive a
new kidney. In the case of liver, heart and/or lung failure,
transplantation is the only alternative and such operations are
now performed in specialised clinics all over the world. Certain
other organs, such as the pancreas or small intestine or sometimes
several organs simultaneously, can now also be transplanted.
Since the first successful human kidney transplant in 1954,
considerable progress has been made in kidney transplantation.
Today, kidney transplantation is widely performed and is
restricted mainly by the limited number of organs available for
transplantation. One-year survival of the transplanted kidney is
85-90 percent and the incidence of patient death is very low. In
some cases a simultaneous kidney and pancreas transplant is
performed and here, too, success rates have improved.
Children with kidney failure have a better chance of long-term
survival after transplantation than with dialysis.
Heart and lung transplantation
Heart transplantation, first attempted in the late 1960s, has
become the accepted therapy for patients with severe heart failure
not responding to other forms of treatment. To date, over 46,000
patients have received a heart transplant, and around 3,000 to
4,000 heart transplant operations are performed every year.
Patients whose lungs no longer function may receive either a
single or a double lung transplant. Sometimes a simultaneous
heart/lung transplantation is performed.
In patients with severe liver failure, transplantation is the only
option. In 1998, more than 4,450 liver transplants were performed
in the United States and 3,500 in Europe.
Problem of Rejection
The greatest threat to transplant patients is early rejection of
the transplanted organ by the body's own immune system. For this
reason, the patient has to take drugs to suppress the immune
response and prevent rejection. A combination of several drugs is
usually given and this treatment has to be continued indefinitely.
Rejection of the new kidney by the patient's immune system can
lead to loss of the transplanted organ and a return to dialysis.
For heart, lung and liver transplant patients, loss of the
transplanted organ presents an immediate threat to life.
Taj Pharmaceuticals the drugs used are effective in reducing or
preventing rejection, they can also cause problems. Some drugs
that suppress the immune response may have harmful effects on the
kidneys or other organs and body systems. These drugs can also
make the patient susceptible to infections.
Taj Pharmaceuticals and Transplantation
Taj Pharmaceuticals continues to make a strong commitment to
improve the success rate of transplantation while enhancing the
quality of life for the patient. In July 1998, Taj Pharmaceuticals
also announced the establishment of the "Taj Pharmaceuticals Organ
Transplantation Research Foundation". Taj Pharmaceuticals has
pledged 25 million Swiss francs to this new non-profit foundation
for the first 5 years.