Date of Award

Spring 1966

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Life & Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

James Manion

Abstract

There is a great deal of speculation in medical circles today about the possibility of being able to replace a diseased organ in one human being with the healthy organ of another, so that the inflicted person might live a longer, healthier life. Such a goal is indeed a worthy one; many persons die because they have developed an unhealthy heart, or diseased kidneys, or poorly functioning livers. Many more persons live an unnatural life because they possess organs which are not capable of performing normally; malfunctioning sense organs, visceral organs, body limbs, and so forth. Further, humans are daily subjected to injuries which maim and render useless bodily organs which must function properly if that person is to live a normal life. These unfortunate accidents of nature, disease and injury, cause many people to die or to live lives of varying degrees of suffering and pain. Medical science has done much to cure and relieve persons troubled with such afflictions. Drugs have been developed to cure diseases, and surgeons are able to restore a large number of diseased and malfunctioning organs back to health. But we must admit that there are many disorders which cannot be touched by either the hypodermic needle or the scalpel.

Until some sort of repair is devised for these damaged organs, humans will continue to die and suffer on account of them.

A very obvious answer to these problems would merely be to replace an abnormal living structure with either an artificial nonliving organ or else with a normal living one. A living organ would naturally have many advantages over an artificial organ. Thus, much research follows this line - the replacement of unhealthy organs with healthy living ones.

Unfortunately, the matter is not without its problems. In most cases, the healthy organs must come from another individual; an antigen - antibody reaction occurs, and the new organ is eventually rejected by the host body. Methods have been developed which hamper this rejection phenomenon, but complete success has not been attained. This thesis deals with an experiment which i performed, thinking that I might be able to throw a new slant of light upon this matter. I shall describe the procedure and the results of this experiment completely; but first I would like to review a few of the important features of the antigen - antibody reaction, up which my entire experiment was based.

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