Facilitating cells: Translation of hematopoietic chimerism to achieve clinical tolerance

Suzanne T. Ildstad*, Joseph Leventhal, Yujie Wen, Esma Yolcu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


For over 50 y the association between hematopoietic chimerism and tolerance has been recognized. This originated with the brilliant observation by Dr. Ray Owen that freemartin cattle twins that shared a common placental blood supply were red blood cell chimeras, which led to the discovery that hematopoietic chimerism resulted in actively acquired tolerance. This was first confirmed in neonatal mice by Medawar et al. and subsequently in adult rodents. Fifty years later this concept has been successfully translated to solid organ transplant recipients in the clinic. The field is new, but cell-based therapies are being used with increasing frequency to induce tolerance and immunomodulation. The future is bright. This review focuses on chimerism and tolerance: past, present and prospects for the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-39
Number of pages7
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Apr 3 2015


  • chimerism
  • facilitating cells
  • freemartin cattle
  • stem cells
  • tolerance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

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