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Scientists began experimenting with organ transplants in the 18th century. There were many failures over the years. By the 1900s, scientists began to see success.

Today, transplants are routine medical treatments. We are able to transplant many organs, including:

  • Kidneys
  • Livers
  • Hearts
  • Pancreata
  • Kidney-pancreas
  • Intestines
  • Lungs
  • Heart-lungs
  • Arms, faces and reproductive organs

Medical breakthroughs such as tissue typing and drugs to combat organ rejection allow for more organ transplants and a longer survival rate for recipients. The most notable breakthrough in this area was Jean Borel's discovery of Cyclosporine in the mid-1970s. The FDA approved Cyclosporine for commercial use in November 1983.

The need for organ transplants continues to exceed the supply of organs. But as medical technology improves and more donors become available, the number of people who live longer and healthier lives continues to increase each year.

1981: First successful heart-lung transplant

First successful kidney transplant*

1966: 1st successful kidney-pancreas transplant

First successful kidney-pancreas transplant

1967: 1st successful liver transplant

First successful liver transplant*

1968: 1st isolated pancreas transplant

First isolated pancreas transplant

1968: 1st successful heart transplant

First successful heart transplant

1981: 1st successful heart-lung transplant

First successful heart-lung transplant

1983: 1st successful single lung transplant

First successful single lung transplant*

1986: 1st successful double lung transplant

First successful double lung transplant*

1989: 1st successful living-related liver transplant

First successful living donor liver transplant

1990: 1st successful living-related lung transplant

First successful living donor lung transplant


* Transplant was the first of its kind in the world.