Organ donation saves countless lives each year. However, the aftercare required lasts the rest of the recipient’s life, compromises the immune system and can damage other healthy organs. This is because, while the donor’s and recipient’s blood types and Rh factors may match, their genetic differences trigger a powerful immune response on the cellular level. To keep the recipient’s body from rejecting the new organ, the patient must take steroids and other immunosuppressive drugs. If a transplant recipient could receive an organ from a biochemically “perfect” match, it wouldn’t trigger an immune response, thus eliminating the need for immunosuppressants.
Science still has only a partial understanding of the expression of one’s genetic profile on the cellular level. Even if researchers could enumerate the entire set of cellular characteristics that trigger an immune response, medical technology is decades away from producing an effective and cost-effective way to permanently eliminate these characteristics from every cell in a hundred-million-celled organ.see more