• Sharing Mayo Clinic

    Identical Twins Share Genetic Makeup, and a Kidney

When Ernesto Boleaga learned that he needed a kidney transplant, the perfect donor, his identical twin brother, Jose Luis, was ready and willing to help. And because the Boleagas have the same genetic make-up, Ernesto’s body accepted Jose Luis’ kidney as its own.

For most patients, however, an identical twin donor isn’t an option, and they need to take medication to suppress their immune system so the body doesn't reject their new kidney. Doctors at Mayo Clinic want to change that.

The video below shows the Boleaga’s story and how Mayo Clinic physicians are researching ways to grow organs from a patient’s own stem cells. It's called regenerative medicine, and it offers hope for a solution to organ rejection.


NOTE: In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first kidney transplant at Mayo Clinic, Sharing Mayo Clinic is featuring a series of stories about kidney transplant during November. Read Part 1 and Part 2. The first organ transplant at Mayo Clinic, a kidney transplant, took place 50 years ago, in November 1963. Since then, nearly 8,000 kidney transplants have been performed at Mayo Clinic’s campuses in Minnesota, Arizona and Florida. Mayo Clinic transplant teams have used advances in surgical techniques, drugs that suppress rejection and the experience with thousands of patients to change what was once considered a “daring operation” by TIME magazine into a safe procedure with excellent outcomes.