Boston Children’s Hospital recruiting patients for hand transplant program

Boston Children’s Hospital announced that it is recruiting patients for its pediatric hand transplant program, according to a news release.

The program, which will be led by Amir Taghinia, MD and William Harmon, MD, will offer bilateral hand transplants for children and is the first of its kind.

“In recent years, medical knowledge, expertise and technology have evolved to a place where we are able to offer this as an experimental option to patients on a research basis,” Taghinia, the program’s principal investigator and surgical director, stated in the release. “We hope that for some children, hand transplants will improve their quality of life, allowing them the ability to be more independent and perform daily tasks.”

Potential candidates for the hand transplant program include children aged 10 years and older who have been without both hands for at least 1 year. The process will include a rigorous screening evaluation, and a multidisciplinary team will handle treatment and follow-up care.

“It has been shown in adults that hand transplants can be safe and effective; the time is right to bring this to a younger population,” Harmon, the co-investigator and medical director of the program, stated in the release. “We know from experience that kids can regenerate nerves better than adults and believe that their immature immune systems can learn to adapt to a transplant successfully.”

To date, only one pediatric hand transplant has been performed, in which the hand from a deceased twin in Malaysia was transplanted to the surviving twin.

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