J Invest Surg. Nov-Dec 2005;18(6):285-90. doi: 10.1080/08941930500433860.


1954 marked the most important year for modern transplantation. It represented the date in which the first successful live kidney transplant was performed by the devoted group of Joseph Murray, Hartwell Harrison, and their Peter Bent Brigham associates in Boston. Intense preparation and careful analysis was required for a long time to arrive at the resounding success manifested in the case of the Herrick twin brothers. Years later, only the discovery of chemical immunosuppression such as azathioprine and the use of radiation therapy permitted occasional good results in kidney transplantation. Great contributors of this period included Elion and Hitchings, Calne and Zukowski, Woodruff, Goodwin, and many others. In a few more years, the use of steroids and an antilymphocyte preparation by the committed team of Tom Starzl from Colorado improved the opportunities for patient outcome. The latter part of the 1960s witnessed the maturation of the Minnesota program with the arrival of John Najarian from California. The 1970s introduced different morbidity and mortality associated with immunosuppressive treatment, and required adjustments in patient management were necessary. New advances were to come in years ahead.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Azathioprine / history
  • Boston
  • Cyclosporine / history
  • Diseases in Twins / history
  • Diseases in Twins / surgery
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / history
  • Kidney Transplantation / history*
  • Living Donors / history
  • Male
  • Transplantation Immunology
  • Twins, Monozygotic


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Cyclosporine
  • Azathioprine