• A Second Chance
  • Organ Rejection
  • Survival Of Transplant

A Second Chance

For people who suffer the failure of one or more of their organs, transplants can offer new hope.
The most common transplants are of kidneys. Hearts, livers and lungs are also regularly transplanted and further medical advances are leading to transplants of other organs. Thousands more have their sight restored through cornea transplants.

As more and more people can be considered for transplants, the shortage of donors becomes ever more acute. Some people who need transplants have to wait for years. Many others die before an organ becomes available. Donated organs originate from people who have died, but the number of living people donating a kidney or a segment of their liver or lung is increasing.

At Roche, we are acutely aware of the challenges of transplantation for the people involved: from those who are waiting for transplants and the people who live with transplanted organs to the teams of healthcare professionals who care for them. This awareness focuses our efforts as we strive to discover and develop even better diagnostic tools and therapies for transplantation.

Organ Rejection

Transplantation remains a challenging area of medicine. Organs need to be kept functioning whilst being quickly transplanted from one person to another and the surgery itself is complex.
The success of transplanted organs is influenced by a number of different factors including the condition of the organ, the tissue match and the health and medical history of the recipient.

After surgery the challenges continue, as all transplanted organs are at risk of being rejected by the recipient’s body. Around half of kidney transplant patients experience some rejection in the first few weeks after a transplant; this usually shows up as a change in blood results and can be treated effectively. However, one in 20 of these patients may lose their kidney during that time. Most kidneys that fail in the first year do so because of rejection (Source: UK National Kidney Federation).

This rejection is the result of the highly sophisticated human immune system. When an organ is transplanted into the body, it is recognised as “foreign”. The immune system springs into action to attack this foreign item – potentially leading to the failure or rejection of the transplant.

Survival Of Transplantation

Everyone who has had a successful organ transplant will need to be carefully monitored and to take a series of medication for the rest of their lives.

Monitoring products such as enzymatic creatinine test, helps doctors monitor patients with chronic kidney disease, both before and after their transplants. Signs of organ rejection can help doctors prescribe additional medication.

Most patients are prescribed three different types of anti-rejection drugs which work together. An immunosuppressant treatment is used with aims to reduce the incidence of transplanted organs being rejected. They may also need additional medicines to prevent complications of some anti-rejection drugs and medication for high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

Roche also provides products for the prevention of infections that can result from transplants. The most serious of these is an infection from a virus called Cytomegalovirus (CMV). If a transplant patient develops CMV disease this can lead to rejection and possibly the loss of their transplanted organ.

Patients who continue to take all their medication and look after their general health maximise their chances of having many years of good quality life with a well functioning transplanted organ.