This is a medical video to give you informed advice about the benefits and cons of using a kidney donor from your family.
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Jennifer Mathews: Tracy Brumm is surrounded by love, her husband, her father and a very special gift from her mom. Tracy Brumm: I was glad that it was my mom who was a match because our love is so strong. Jennifer Mathews: Tracy has lupus. When the disease caused her kidneys to fail, her mother gave Tracy one of hers. Transplants give patients a chance at life, but drugs to prevent rejection come with a list of complications. Dr. Samuel Strober: There are risks of infection and increased cardiovascular risk and infectious disease risk and cancer risk. Jennifer Mathews: Dr. Samuel Strober says, eliminating those drugs could be possible. With a new technique, after transplantation, patients receive several small doses of radiation. Then, stem cells from the donor are injected into the recipient. Dr. Samuel Strober: That mixing of the donor immune cells and blood cells with the host immune cells and blood cells is critical for the establishment of tolerance. Jennifer Mathews: New cells are produced, and the recipient's body recognizes donor cells as friend, not foe. Dr. Samuel Strober: They can have their normal life style, they can have their kidney transplant and they don't have to pay for it by the risks of infections and heart disease. Jennifer Mathews: Tracy is one of only four patients treated with this technique so far. Tracy Brumm: I've been drug-free since January. And so now I feel like I'm alive again. Jennifer Mathews: As a thank you to her mom, Tracy gave her a reminder she can keep close to her heart. This is Jennifer Mathews reporting.