Health Advice



Stem cells instead of drugs? Trial is testing a way to help strengthen transplant patients' immune systems

Madeline Buckley, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Health & Fitness

Barrett, too, studiously did her research, and they tried to sign up for the clinical trials, finally enrolling in the phase three trial.

The trial is only testing the treatment with living donors, though Leventhal hopes to someday test it with deceased donors as well.

But with the need for a living donor, Barrett eagerly stepped up, while Rainey worried for her daughter.

“As a parent, you have those feelings … you just think of the worst outcome,” Rainey said.

But her daughter lost 80 pounds to qualify as a donor. She got biweekly injections to increase her production of stem cells, then had them extracted.


“We had done the research and wanted to do the clinical trial, to be a part of the process,” she said. “To see it happening in real time is a beautiful thing.”

After the transplant surgery, Barrett and her mother were convalescing on the same floor. She walked to her mother’s room and saw her for the first time with a working kidney.

“That was really a beautiful moment,” she said.

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