Year 2011 Vol. 19 No 2




Technical University of Munich, Philipps-University of Marburg, Teaching hospital of the Charite Berlin, Germany,
Vitebsk Regional Clinical Hospital, Vitebsk State Medical University,
Republic Belarus

Transplantation of organs is one of the most effective therapies for organ failure. The history of transplantation can be traced way back into the spheres of myths, legends and sagas. Well-known examples are the ancient Egyptian and Greek mythology: The old Egyptian god Horus, symbolized by a falcon-headed man, the sphinx with her human face but a cat-like body or the Greek Minotaurus with the human upper body and head of a bull. Even the early Christians had reports of transplantation: Cosmas and Damian, patron saints of the doctors and barbers, replaced the cancerous leg of a believer with the leg of a dark colored Ethiopian who died the day before.
Advantages in aseptic, vascular surgery, ether anesthesiology as well as the first successful skin transplants paved the way for full organ transplants. Alexis Carrel described a new successful way of connecting vessel end-to-end in 1901. Meanwhile the new scientific field of transplantation immunology contributed important aspects to the understanding of organ transplantation. This lead to the transformation from an experimental and theoretical stage to real therapeutically trails in the first transplant centers.
The value of transplantations in modern medicine cannot be underestimated. This article highlights the milestones of transplantation medicine and puts them in the greater context of a creative process.

Keywords: history of medicine, transplantation medicine, immunosuppression
p. 3 9 of the original issue
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