BOSTON, June 18 (UPI) -- Officials at Boston Children's Hospital said they are recruiting subjects for the world's first pediatric hand transplant program.
The Boston Children's Hand Transplant Program, led by principal investigator Dr. Amir Taghinia and Dr. William Harmon, is a research-based program offering bilateral hand transplants for children living without two functioning hands.
The potential subjects will be children age 10 and older, in good overall health, who for one or more years have been missing both hands, Taghinia said.
In addition, children who are missing one hand but are already on immunosuppression medication for a functioning solid organ transplant, or missing one hand and the other hand is poorly functioning, will also be considered.
"In recent years, medical knowledge, expertise and technology have evolved to a place where we are able to offer this as an experimental option to patients on a research basis," Taghinia said in a statement.
"We hope that for some children, hand transplants will improve their quality of life, allowing them the ability to be more independent and perform daily tasks -- tasks that many of us take for granted."
The complex surgery requires a multidisciplinary team and will be followed by extensive therapy and follow-up care. The process will include a rigorous screening evaluation ensuring that a child is in good health and likely to comply with all treatment protocols, Taghinia said.