A new approach to kidney transplants would reprogram the immune system

A new approach to kidney transplants would reprogram the immune system

If approved by the FDA, a new procedure for kidney transplants that doesn't require anti-rejection medication could soon become the standard of care.

Talaris Therapeutics, Inc., a biotech company based in Louisville, Ky., is edging closer to eradicating the need for immunosuppressive drugs for kidney transplant patients.

In a series of research trials, Talaris is infusing patients with immune system stem cells from their kidney donor to create a donor-derived immune system that accepts the organ without the need for anti-rejection medications. That newly generated system does not attack other parts of the recipient’s body and also fights off infections and diseases as a healthy immune system would.

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Christopher Johnston
Christopher Johnston has published more than 3,500 articles in publications including American Theatre, Christian Science Monitor, History Magazine, and Scientific American. His book, Shattering Silences: Strategies to Prevent Sexual Assault, Heal Survivors, and Bring Assailants to Justice (Skyhorse) was published in May 2018. He is a member of the Board of the American Society of Journalists and Authors.
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The Friday Five: The plain solution to holiday stress?

In this week's Friday Five, research on how to improve your working memory, the plain old solution to stress, rise of the robot surgeon, tomato brain power, the gut connection to health after strokes - and more.

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The Friday Five covers five stories in research that you may have missed this week. There are plenty of controversies and troubling ethical issues in science – and we get into many of them in our online magazine – but this news roundup focuses on scientific creativity and progress to give you a therapeutic dose of inspiration headed into the weekend.

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Matt Fuchs

Matt Fuchs is the editor-in-chief of Leaps.org. He is also a contributing reporter to the Washington Post and has written for the New York Times, Time Magazine, WIRED and the Washington Post Magazine, among other outlets. Follow him on Twitter @fuchswriter.

Heart model

Elaine Kamil had just returned home after a few days of business meetings in 2013 when she started having chest pains. At first Kamil, then 66, wasn't worried—she had had some chest pain before and recently went to a cardiologist to do a stress test, which was normal.

"I can't be having a heart attack because I just got checked," she thought, attributing the discomfort to stress and high demands of her job. A pediatric nephrologist at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, she takes care of critically ill children who are on dialysis or are kidney transplant patients. Supporting families through difficult times and answering calls at odd hours is part of her daily routine, and often leaves her exhausted.

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Lina Zeldovich
Lina Zeldovich has written about science, medicine and technology for Scientific American, Reader’s Digest, Mosaic Science and other publications. She’s an alumna of Columbia University School of Journalism and the author of the upcoming book, The Other Dark Matter: The Science and Business of Turning Waste into Wealth, from Chicago University Press. You can find her on http://linazeldovich.com/ and @linazeldovich.