Breathing Life into Lung Transplant Research!


Overview | History | Timeline


The first renal transplant is performed in a pair of identical twins. Twins share the same genetic make-up, so immunosuppression is not necessary.


The first lung transplant is performed by Dr. James D. Hardy of the University of Mississippi in Jackson, Mississippi. The patient survives for 18 days.


The first successful liver and heart transplants are performed using corticosteroids and Azathioprine.


The first successful single lung transplant is performed by Dr. Joel Cooper of the Toronto Lung Transplant Group of Toronto General Hospital (now part of the University Health Network). The procedure is performed on 58-year-old Tom Hall, who suffers from pulmonary fibrosis. Hall lives for more than seven years before dying of kidney failure.

Late 1980s/Early 1990s

Since first beginning as a procedure aimed at treating Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF), lung transplantation is found to be an effective therapy for other advanced lung diseases, such as Cystic Fibrosis (CF) and Emphysema.


The first successful living-related lung transplant is performed by Dr. Vaughn A. Starnes at Stanford University Medical Center in Palo Alto, California. He transplants the lobe of one lung from an adult female into the woman’s 12-year-old daughter.

Early 2000s

Bilateral lung transplants emerge as more common than single lung transplants after outcomes show greater long-term survival rates with bilateral transplants.

May 2005

The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) changed how lungs are allocated to potential recipients. Instead of organs being allocated strictly on how long potential recipients have been on the transplant list, organs are allocated based on a variety of factors including the urgency of need of potential recipients.

June 2008

At the Hospital Clinic in Barcelona, Spain, Professor Paolo Macchiarini of the University of Barcelona performs the first tissue-engineered airway transplant, using a seven-centimeter tracheal segment donated by a 51-year-old who died of a cerebral hemorrhage and the recipient’s own stem cells to replace the recipient’s lower trachea and left bronchus.