Skip navigation
E. The Organ Transplant Drug Paradox

Narrator: This is Science Today. One of the problems with organ transplantation is the drugs used to prevent rejections can be very toxic. Dr. Flavio Vincenti of the University of California, San Francisco explains.

Vincenti: These drugs, while very effective, can be toxic to several organs, especially the kidney and therefore not infrequently, liver transplant, kidney transplant, heart transplant get successfully transplanted only to succumb to the toxicity of these drugs and then they develop kidney failure and need to be retransplanted.

Narrator: But there's a new, non-toxic transplant drug called Zenapax which only targets and blocks specific immune system cells and has reduced kidney rejections by more than a third.

Vincenti: We hope in the future to be able to utilize Zenapax in certain combination of drugs that minimize toxicity, especially to the kidney. Yet at the same time, maintain and improve on the overall outcome after transplantation.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.