The first successful adult human kidney transplant was performed in 1954. Over the past 50 years, many successful organ transplants have occurred. Transplants now involve every major organ. Transplantation of various organs, tissues, and cells (such as kidneys, hearts, lungs, livers, and bone marrow) are now possible in children. Survival is steadily increasing, and successful transplants now lead to an improved quality of life.
With the number of children needing transplants increasing each year, various organizations, as well as health care providers, are increasing the public's awareness of the need for organ donation. The Children's Health Act of 2000 addresses the needs of children who are suffering from end-stage organ disease.
Medical technology continues to improve, and transplantation has become a life-saving procedure for many children with congenital (from birth) or chronic conditions or diseases. Research studies continue to focus on preventing graft rejection and the development of new antirejection drugs and therapies that are less toxic and more effective.
Scientists also continue to learn about the body's immune system, which contributes to a further understanding of transplantation and other immunologic diseases and conditions.