“This has the potential to change the face of solid organ transplantation in the future”. – says one of Easton’s doctors Joseph Turek from Duke University Hospital.
Easton, a young boy was born with a frail heart alongwith a weak immune system. Due to these health problems, Easton had spent his first seven months in the hospital. He needed several heart operations and constant medications against the infections that his body was naturally unable to cope with due to his fragile immune system.
Since because of these complications Easton needed a new heart and, a new thymus gland, his doctors thought of performing an experimental type of transplant that wasn’t performed in unison before. As this was an experimental type of transplant the doctor applied to the medical regulatory body, that is, the FDA for approval. Eventually, the surgical team was granted approval, and the transplant was carried out in August 2021.
The thymus is the gland located in the chest, near the heart. The thymus gland helps the body’s immune cells understand what is ours and what is foreign. As thymus gland produces cells that fight foreign substances. The new heart for Easton would not be adopted by the immune cells resultant of which the new heart would be attacked by the cells. Easton doctors believed that giving thymus tissue from the same donor would help his body adapt to the foreign organ and the new tissues.
Fortunately, the transplant went well, and months after the surgery, the test showed that Easton was doing well becoming the first one in the world to have both heart and thymus transplants together.