CHALLENGES WE FACE
Lung transplant patients face problems few of us will ever encounter. But for every challenge patients face, there is a medical breakthrough on the verge of becoming a reality. Help us fast-track these life-saving medical advances so they reach patients in need—in time.
Here are just a few of our challenges—and the breakthrough research we are funding.
THE CHALLENGE: Lengthy Waiting Lists
Currently, there are more than 117,000 people in the U.S. waiting for an organ transplant. Every day, 22 will die never having received one. In lung transplantation, approximately 80% of lungs donated come to hospitals damaged, inflamed or infected and unsuitable for transplant.
Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) are perfecting techniques to save damaged donor lungs and recondition them for transplant. Help us fund their amazing work. After all, the more lungs we save, the more lives we save.
THE CHALLENGE: Rejection
More than 50% of transplant recipients develop chronic lung rejection within 5 years of transplantation. While this statistic may take your breath away, researchers at CUMC are working round the clock to turn this number around.
Right now, researchers are developing breakthrough therapies that focus on achieving immune tolerance. This is a state in which the patient’s immune system accepts the transplanted lungs as its own without the use of anti-rejection medications. Immune tolerance therapies are expected to reduce the risk of rejection, infection, cancers and numerous other complications. Let’s make this happen sooner. Let’s make it happen now.
THE CHALLENGE: Infection
A compromised immune system due to a constant regimen of anti-rejection therapy invites life-threatening infections, which can cause rejection and death. Sadly, infections contribute to nearly 80% of deaths.
At CUMC, techniques that once seemed impossible are being perfected right now. Including a transplant immune tolerance technique that ‘tricks’ the body’s immune system into thinking that a transplanted organ is its own without the use of immunosuppressants. This technique may finally make immunosuppressants, the leading cause of infection and cancer — a thing of the past.
THE CHALLENGE: Medication Side Effects
After a life-saving lung transplant, patients are placed on two handfuls of anti-rejection and anti-infection medications a day, which are often inadequate in preventing organ rejection. They can also lead to infection, cancer, kidney problems, diabetes, and hypertension among other medical problems.
The team at CUMC is working on a cutting-edge technique that promotes organ acceptance while eliminating the need for infection and cancer-causing immunosuppressant medications. With the elimination or reduction of these medicines, lung transplant patients may soon be able to breathe a long-awaited sigh of relief.