Organ Transplantation in the 21th Century

  • Francisco Ortega
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 741)


Mankind has always been interested in investigating and searching for solutions regarding the body deterioration due to factors such as disease, damage caused by trauma, toxins or radiation or just the process of ageing. Here, we summarize the history of scientific advances in solid organ transplantation, in the areas strictly linked to transplantation. The period between the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century has been called by some authors the “Era of allografting”. This was a muddled period with many studies and publications on very diverse transplants, from Kocher’s (Nobel Prize in 1909) who transplanted thyroid extracts, to Brown-Sequard who tried to rejuvenate people by using grafts of guinea pig testicle extracts. In the midst of the 20th century, Sir Medawar pointed out that the rejection of transplant organs by the recipient body was mediated by an immunological reaction, which should be modified. Since then, there has been an open period of discovery of new immunosuppressive drugs which have revolutionised the outcomes of solid organ transplantations. New challenges have appeared over the last few years, these efforts have focused on the search to extend graft durability and with it recipient patient survival times, as well as improve their quality of life.


Organ Transplantation Acute Rejection Nobel Prize Identical Twin Solid Organ Transplantation 
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Copyright information

© Landes Bioscience and Springer Science+Business Media 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francisco Ortega
    • 1
  1. 1.Nephrology DepartmentHospital Universitario Central de AsturiasOviedoSpain

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