AT THE HEART OF TRANSPLANTATION

AT THE HEART OF TRANSPLANTATION

New anti-rejection medicines help patients recover faster, and live longer.

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Roxanne thought she’d pulled a muscle. One trip to the ER, an EKG scan and a whole bunch of tests later, she discovered the real problem—a heart attack. In the past, this diagnosis would’ve been considered life-threatening. But today, with the latest advancements in transplantation, Roxanne’s heart condition turned into the ultimate lifesaving experience.

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RESEARCHERS MAKING AN IMPACT

Salim—a biopharmaceutical researcher who develops immunosuppressant medications for organ transplant patients—has seen firsthand the power of cutting-edge research. It’s led to new treatments that prevent organs from being rejected. In the past, similar treatments weakened patients’ immune systems, leaving them susceptible to infection. Today, newly-developed medicines help organs function longer, reduce side effects and restore patients’ lives, helping patients live 20-25 years longer.

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Due to the advent of anti-rejection drugs that do not compromise a patient’s entire immune system, transplant recipients can be hopeful about regaining the quality of life they once had.

THE LATEST INNOVATIONS

Some of the newest treatments are antibody-based. These medicines work like guided missiles, specifically homing in on immune cells that would attack the transplanted organ. By reducing the number of transplant-attacking immune cells, these treatments lower a patient’s chances of acute rejection.

There are also many new treatments in development. One, for example, is a monthly IV infusion that would replace the calcineurin inhibitor medicines being used today. Other treatments in development include personalized therapies tailored to each patient’s needs. Preliminary studies for these compounds show higher than ever long-term survival rates along with decreased infection and malignancy rates. More research is needed before these potential drugs reach patients, but for now, these studies represent exciting advances in transplant medicine.

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TOGETHER, WE’RE STRONGER

It’s been 7 years since Roxanne’s heart transplant, and she feels stronger than ever. It’s all thanks to her daily anti-rejection medicines. Her biggest fan—Salim. “Patients like Roxanne are silent heroes of the medical story. I’m motivated by their tenacity and their hope for life. That motivates me to want to work even harder.” Although researchers like Salim still have a long way to go, their everyday contributions have already made a huge impact, on all of us.
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