- UK girl, 8, has groundbreaking transplant.
- No lifelong drugs needed.
- Medical feat at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
In a groundbreaking medical achievement, an eight-year-old girl in the UK has become the first person to undergo a transplant without the need for lifelong immunosuppressant drugs. Aditi Shankar, who suffers from a rare genetic condition, received both a new kidney and bone marrow from her mother, Divya. Thanks to a stem cell transplant via bone marrow, Aditi was able to discontinue immunosuppressant medication just a month after the organ transplant. Pioneering efforts by the medical team at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) have enabled Aditi’s body to fully accept the new kidney as its own.
Immunosuppressant drugs are typically a critical part of post-transplant care, as they prevent the recipient’s body from rejecting the donated organ. However, these medications come with the drawback of suppressing the immune system, leaving patients more susceptible to infections and other complications.
Aditi’s journey began when she was referred to GOSH at the age of five, where doctors diagnosed her with Schimke’s immuno-osseous dysplasia, a condition affecting both the immune system and kidneys.
This extremely rare condition, affecting only one child in approximately three million in the UK, initially deemed her ineligible for a kidney transplant.
Collaborating with international experts, the renal, immunology, and stem cell transplant teams at GOSH devised a groundbreaking treatment plan. Professor Stephen Marks, a specialist in children’s kidney care at GOSH, explained that her immune deficiency was rectified by her mother’s bone marrow transplant. This allowed Aditi’s body to recognize her mother’s kidney as a part of her own. Remarkably, just a month after the transplant, she was taken off all immunosuppressant drugs, sparing her from their side effects.
Previously, Aditi’s life revolved around frequent hospital visits for dialysis, a procedure necessary to remove waste products and excess fluid from her bloodstream due to her kidney dysfunction. However, today, she enjoys activities such as swimming, singing, dancing, and bouncing on her trampoline, thanks to this extraordinary medical breakthrough.
Her mother, Divya, expressed her happiness at being able to provide Aditi with both blood cells and a kidney, stating, “I just feel so proud.”
Aditi herself shared her excitement, saying, “My mum gave me my new blood cells. I got the kidney transplant when I went to special sleep and closed my eyes. Now I have got the line out, I can go swimming.”
This medical milestone represents a ray of hope for transplant patients worldwide, offering the possibility of a life free from the burdens of lifelong medication.