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New insights into what drives organ transplant rejection

September 06, 2018 / Brigham and Women's Hospital

When it comes to transplant rejection, some organs are far trickier than others. Some transplantable organs, such as the liver, are readily accepted by the recipient's immune system, rarely triggering an immune response and rejection. But the skin is a very different matter: Skin grafts have a high rate of rejection for unknown reasons. Investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital set out to understand why hoping to capitalize on new biological insights to not only explain why skin transplants provoke the immune system but also what treatments can be given to an organ prior to transplantation to decrease the likelihood of rejection. Their findings, with implications for the future of face transplantation, are published in Nature Communications.