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U.S. Government Information on Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation
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Terms and Topics

The world of organ donation and transplantation has a language all its own. There are many terms and topics that you may not have heard of before. Get to know what it all means by selecting the letters below or just scrolling down.

Allocation—The process of determining how organs are distributed. Allocation includes the system of policies and guidelines which ensure that organs are distributed in an equitable, ethical and medically sound manner.

Allograft—An allograft is a transplant of an organ or tissue that comes from another person of the same species.

Anti-Rejection Medicine (immunosuppressive drugs)—Medicines that reduce or prevent the body's ability to reject a transplanted organ or tissue.

Antibody—A protein substance made by the body's immune system to attack a foreign substance, for example, a blood transfusion, virus or pregnancy. Because antibodies attack transplanted organs, transplant patients must take powerful drugs to reduce the body's attack on the transplanted organ. See anti-rejection medicine.

Antigen—A foreign substance, such as a transplanted organ or tissue, that triggers the body to reject it (destroy it.)


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