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Medtech Impact on Wellness

Clinical Professor of Surgery and Director of the UCSF Immunogenetics and Transplantation Laboratory, Dr. Rajalingam Raja, joins the show to discuss his work.

Tune in to discover:

  • How the body can reject a transplanted organ even 10 to 20 years following transplantation
  • Roughly how many people are currently awaiting a kidney transplant through USCF, and how often people need multiple transplantations at once
  • What happens during an organ transplant rejection
  • Why some people are not transplantation candidates

Dr. Raja’s job is to select and match the very best organ donor with the very best recipient in order to minimize the possibility of organ rejection and limit the amount of immunosuppressant drugs necessary after transplantation. Maintaining the balance between immunosuppression that allows the patient to keep the organ, and a strong immune system that allows the patient to fight against invading pathogens is a difficult and tricky task.

Genetic and serological testing to match HLA molecules, which play an important role in defending against foreign invaders in the body, is critical in the process of determining which organ matches provide the highest likelihood of a successful transplantation for the maximum possible number of years. This is an area of ongoing research, as is the relationship between the microbiome and the immune response during transplantation.

Dr. Raja discusses these topics and others, including general information about human immunology and transplant immunology, what types of rejection can occur (and when or under what circumstances they can occur), immunogenetics and histocompatibility, special considerations that must be made for pediatric transplants, and more.

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