We all hate rejection. It hurts us somewhere deep inside. And those of us who’ve had an organ transplant hate it most of all. Because the only way to make all that pain go away is by taking a hearty (sometimes heroic) dose of anti-rejection drugs.
Rejection is driven by our body’s immune system, a collection of cells (T cells) that recognise and destroy foreign cells: germs, poisons, other bits that find their way into us. All cells have proteins called antigens on their surface. As soon as these antigens enter our body, the immune system recognises that they are not from our body and attacks them.
When we receive an organ transplant, our immune system (more…)