London, Jan 26 (UNI) An Australian teenager has become the first transplant patient to switch blood groups.
Demi-Lee Brennan had O-negative blood before a liver transplant six years ago.
However, she is now O-positive after her body adopted the immune system of the organ's donor.
The switch-- at estimated odds of six billion to one-- means the 15-year-old no longer needs immunosuppressant drugs which are used to stop the body rejecting a new organ.
The drugs are usually taken for life and only a small number of transplant patients have been able to come off them, none by switching blood groups.
Experts belive that studying what happened to the teenager may open the way to beating organ rejection, the Daily Mail reported.
Richard Thompson, a paediatric hepatology expert at King's College, London, said, ''It's a dramatic, remarkable case and she's been incredibly lucky. A small number of people can stop taking anti-rejection drugs altogether after a transplant because they develop a tolerance to the donor organ but this has not been achieved before by a change in blood group.'' Meanwhile, US scientists are pioneering a way of re-engineering the immune system in transplant patients to accept mismatched organs without the need for anti-rejection therapy, by using bone marrow taken from the donors at the same time as the organ to persuade the body to accept foreign material as its own.
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