A Timeline of Kidney Transplantation

The following timeline outlines the development of kidney transplantation, including other transplants conducted at the Medical University of South Carolina. Also included are significant “firsts” in the field of kidney transplantation.

1902 The first successful kidney transplant in a dog is performed at the Vienna Medical School in Austria.
1909 First animal-to-human kidney transplant
1936 First (unsuccessful) human-to-human kidney transplant
1940s Sir Peter Medawar and others begin to identify, understand, and explain why transplanted tissue is rejected. This was the early stage of research about immunosuppression.
1945 First temporary kidney transplant is performed at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital (now Brigham & Women's Hospital) in Boston.
1952 The first successful kidney transplanted from a female traffic accident fatality and implanted into her son. The kidney initially functioned well but was rejected 22 days later.
1954 The first successful live donor human kidney transplant, between identical twin brothers, took place at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. The transplanted kidney functioned for 8 years.
1958 First kidney transplant in humans using immunosuppression
1959 First successful kidney transplant between fraternal twins
1960 First successful kidney transplant between non-twin siblings
1961 First successful kidney transplant between non-siblings
1962 The first successful kidney transplanted from a deceased donor occurred in Boston - the kidney functioned for 21 months. This was the first use of the new immunosuppressive drug azathioprine.
1968 First US organ donor program established. The Uniform Anatomical Gift Act established the Uniform Donor Card to allow anyone 18 years or older to legally donate his or her organs upon death.

First major organ (kidney) transplant at Medical College of South Carolina
1972 Jean Borel discovered the immunosuppressant properties of cyclosporine, a drug widely used in organ transplants between unrelated people to reduce the activity of the patient’s immune system and so the risk of rejection.
1983 Cyclosporine was approved by the FDA for use as an immunosuppresant drug. It was recognized as the most successful anti-rejection medication developed to date.
1987 MUSC performed its first heart transplant and the first bone marrow transplant in South Carolina.
1990 MUSC performed its first liver transplant.
1993 MUSC conducted its first pancreas transplant.
1994 MUSC performed its first lung transplant and its first small bowel/intestine transplant.