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Transplant Coordinators

History

Scientists have been conducting research regarding human and animal organ transplantation since the 18th century. Further research led to refinements in transplant technology, and in 1954 the first successful human kidney transplant was performed in Boston. The 1960s brought many successes in the field of organ transplants, including successful human liver and pancreas transplants. The first heart transplant was performed in 1967.

Despite these successes, many transplants eventually failed because of the body's immune system, which eventually rejected the new organ as a foreign object. Although drugs were designed in the 1960s to help the body accept transplanted organs, it wasn't until the early 1980s that a truly effective immunosuppressant drug, cyclosporin, was available. This drug substantially improved the success rate of transplant surgeries. More precise tissue typing or matching of donor and recipient tissues also helped increase the success rate.

Successful organ transplants have increased, although some transplants still fail over time despite modern drug treatments and closer tissue matching. Research in this area continues with the hope of increasing the rate of successful transplants. 

In the United States, more than 500,000 people have received transplants, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing. More than 28,000 Americans receive transplants each year.  

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