Graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) is a common and often deadly complication of bone-marrow transplantation that occurs when immune cells from an unrelated donor attack the transplant recipient’s tissue. Now, researchers have for the first time managed to completely replace people’s bone-marrow-derived stem cells with those from unrelated donors without causing GvHD1. And because of this, the recipients could also accept kidneys from the same donors without the need for drugs that suppress the immune system.
“The outcome has been amazing,” says Lindsay Porter, a 47-year-old Chicago resident with polycystic kidney disease who was one of the study subjects. She has been off immunosuppressive drugs for seven months. “I feel so normal, it feels like it’s not a big deal.”