Organ Transplants

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Honors Activity 6.3
Organ Transplants

In order to prevent the rejection of transplanted organs in a person’s body, immunosuppressive therapy is necessary. These drugs have saved many lives and extended many others. The number of patients taking immunosuppressive drugs is not decreasing and at the same time doctors following up their patients after an organ transplant must be very vigilant and need to monitor the patience response to the therapy very closely. Unfortunately science has not yet discovered an immunosuppressive drug having no side effects. Some of these drugs include cyclosporine and corticosteroids and these drugs increase risks for example of infection, heart disease and the decrease of bone marrow. Complications can become very important and if not addressed properly can lead to a patient having more important problems than before the organ transplant. So patients must work closely with the general practitioners and share all new symptoms they are experiencing and also participate promptly to the quarterly and yearly follow-up tests determining how there immune system is reacting. Some early studies suggest that immunosuppressive therapies favor the development of certain cancers. However today more and more studies start to contradict this affirmation. Without knowing the exact mechanism it is still widespread to believe that the therapy will affect the rest of the immune system, weakening it in different ways and therefore favoring the early appearance of cancerous cells. However as mentioned, recent studies that have followed patients for more than 20-30 years, suggest that the patients having had a transplant, might now have cancer but because of other causes such as lifestyle diseases or simply the fact that these people are getting older. In conclusion, immunosuppressive drugs are quite efficient in making sure that transplanted organs are not rejected, but are also associated with significant side effects. Health professionals...
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