Thursday, November 20, 2008

You won't need your kidneys in heaven

It is not front-page news to everyone - doctors have successfully grown a woman's own stem cells to coat cadaveric windpipe cartilage, and transplanted it with good results. She has not had to take anti-rejection medications. You can read about it where I did, on

Who cares? I do. This research is not an abstraction to some of us. Here is my letter to the Telegraph.
Someone like me should comment.

I am an otherwise healthy person with drastically damaged kidneys. I have been on a transplant waiting list for almost a year, and am told the average wait is three years. I have no miraculous immediate family able to donate a kidney, and would be very slow to accept it, for I am not convinced it benefits someone to suddenly have 50% of full kidney function.

Everything in me rebels against everything involved in cadaveric transplant, but especially against the need for anti-rejection drugs and the awful consequences of deliberately lowering your natural immune response.

But I may come to the point in life where I will die without transplant or the equally brutal and inadequate treatment of dialysis (which costs my government, US, about $80,000 a year). I make that choice mentally often, especially when I get sick.

This research holds out hope for me. One day someone might be able to encourage my scarred kidneys to begin growing healthy, useful tissue.

I thank the doctors and researchers.

No comments:

Post a Comment