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Transplant recipients had radiation and chemotherapy, not destroying their own bone marrow but tamping it down to make space for the donated cells, explained study co-author Dr. Joseph Leventhal, a Northwestern transplant surgeon. Five patients who had the dual immunity a year later were weaned off all drugs. Two others whose hybrid immunity faded are faring well using a low dose of one anti-rejection drug. One patient needed a repeat transplant after an infection and didn't get to try weaning.
Much more study is needed to find the best approach but "the results are striking," Dr. Tatsuo Kawai of Massachusetts General Hospital wrote in an accompanying editorial. He is part of a team that in 2008 reported the only other success with a small number of mismatched transplants.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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