In the Netherlands the LUMC is a pioneer in the field of transplantations of abdominal organs. Our track record is proof of that. In 1966 the first kidney and liver transplantations in the Netherlands were performed in Leiden. In 1984 the first pancreas transplantation was performed in the Netherlands and more recently, in 2007, the LUMC performed the first islet transplantation with an organ donor from the Netherlands.
First kidney transplantation at the LUMC
The first successful kidney transplantation was performed in 1954 in the American city of Boston. In the Netherlands that happened in 1966: At the Leiden Academic Hospital a mother donated a kidney to her son. Since that time many successful kidney transplantations have been performed in Leiden with kidneys of both living and deceased donors.
Leiden has been a center for liver transplantations and liver diseases since 1992, but the first liver transplantation was performed there as early as 1966. It was the very first one in the Netherlands. By now our doctors have performed more than 550 liver transplantations. The results with regard to patient survival exceed the Eurotransplant average by far: Survival after one year exceeds ninety per cent and after five years about eighty per cent.
In type I diabetes the Islets of Langerhans, which produce insulin, have been destroyed by your own immune system. This may lead to kidney failure. Since 1984 transplantations of the pancreas have been performed in the Netherlands for patients with type I diabetes mellitus. In most cases this is done as a combined kidney-pancreas transplantation. Leiden has become an important center of expertise for (kidney-)pancreas transplantations now that more than four hundred operations have been performed.
Where patients with type 1 diabetes in the past required the transplantation of an entire pancreas, it is now also possible to only isolate the Islets of Langerhans from a donor pancreas and subsequently transplant these, which is a far less invasive intervention. In the Netherlands only the LUMC performs this transplantation. The first one took place in 2007. This treatment requires a lot of expertise and good cooperation between many different departments.
Transplantation in the future
We not only look at the past and the present, but also the future of transplantation has our attention. We carry out intensive research into ground-breaking treatment methods, such as the growing of a kidney from the patient’s own stem cells and the development of insulin producing cells from stem cells. For more information please refer to the page Research and innovation.