A "holy grail of transplants" for teen patient

January 25, 2008 7:18:35 AM PST
6 years ago, Demi-Lee received a life-saving liver transplant. Now, she's received a second gift - the donor's immune system.

Demi-Lee Brennan's blood type spontaneously changed from O to O-negative, just like the person whose liver she received when she was 9 years old.

That means no more drugs are needed to suppress her immune system.

Dr. Julie Curtin, the head of hematology at Westmead Children's Hospital in Sydney, beamed as she told reporters, "No more tablets to take. The holy grail of transplant was achieved and that's what we were trying to achieve for everybody, but Demi's body had done that herself."

Doctors say over time, stem cells from the donor liver traveled to Demi-Lee's bone marrow, triggering the amazing change.

It's the first time on record this has occurred.

Demi-Lee says this is a gift on top of the already wonderful gift from the donor's family.