Although transplants have been recorded from time to time throughout history, French surgeon Alexis Carrel performed the first verifiable transplants of arteries and veins in the early 1900s. Autotransplants, which refer to the transplant of tissue from one place to another in a person's body, were demonstrated as early as 1869 with skin transplants that helped to aid in healing wounds and burns.
Edward Zirm of Austria performed the first successful cornea transplant in 1906. Corneal transplants are not vulnerable to organ rejection, which occurs when a transplant recipient's immune system attacks foreign tissue. The development of immune suppressant drugs beginning in the 1950s made the transplantation of other organs possible. Joseph Murray and J. Hartwell Harrison performed the first true organ transplant in December 1954, when they transplanted a kidney between a pair of identical twins.
The organs and tissues that can be transplanted today include the heart, intestine, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas, heart valves, bone, skin, corneas, veins, cartilage, tendons, and blood. Only blood, bone, bone marrow, kidneys, skin, and part of the liver are typically transplanted from one living person to another person.