MAR 14, 2016 10:54 AM PDT

Procedure Allows Kidney Transplant from Any Donor

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham
Johns Hopkins researchers found a new way to transplant kidney organs from any donor – regardless of compatibility, and they say it’s saving more lives than the conventional alternative of long-term dialysis while waiting for the right match.
 
Matching is not necessary with new kidney transplant technique

Every year, about 600,00 Americans are afflicted with end-stage kidney disease. Kidney transplantation is a potent fix, but there just aren’t enough donated kidneys to go around. In addition to the organ shortage, donors and recipients have to be matched for blood type and antigens combinations – another bottleneck that prevents many transplants from happening. Of the 101,189 patients that currently await a kidney transplant, only about 16% of them will receive the organ while about 4.4% die waiting for the operation.
 
To increase the organ supply available to patients on the transplant list, some researchers have turned to other animals as potential organ donors. Notably, the CRISPR/cas9 gene editing system has renewed xenotransplantation hopes for organs from pigs. However, this technology is still years away from the bedside for many patients.
 
With the same goal to increase the available organ supply, Johns Hopkins researchers took a different approach. Fifteen years ago, they started to develop a technique to quiet the recipient’s immune system so that any donor organ can become a match, regardless of HLA type. Now, an eight-year study evaluating this technique in 1,025 recipients finds higher survival benefit compared to those who remained on the waiting list.
 
The technique is known as desensitization, and involves external filtration of antibodies out of a patient’s blood. After the patient’s immune system regenerates new antibodies, doctors found this set of regenerated antibodies are less likely to attack the transplant organ. The exact mechanism behind this is still unknown, but it seems to work at saving lives.
 
In 1,025 adult incompatible live donor kidney transplant recipients from 22 centers across the U.S., researchers found consistently higher survival rates in comparison with the control groups, who remained on the waiting list. At the eight-year mark, 76.5 percent of those who had received the incompatible transplant were still alive, compared to 43.9 percent of those patients who were still on the waiting list.  
 
“For the first time, we have definitively shown that incompatible live donor kidney transplantation provides almost twice the survival of a patient’s next best option,” said Dorry Segev, professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins and lead author of the paper. "This is great news for patients who have healthy, willing live donors but who have been relegated to the waiting list because of HLA incompatibilities. Through this study, we now know that those donors can donate today, those transplants can happen and those lives can be saved.”
 
The estimated cost of desensitization is $30,000 and the transplant operation itself is about $100,000. Still, doctors say this upfront cost is cheaper than long-term dialysis, which costs about $70,000 each year.
 
Saving more lives at lower costs to the patients is arguable ultimate goal for medicine. And this is why many experts are calling this technique revolutionary. Already, desensitization is being explored for other organ transplants, like liver and lung.
 

Additional source: Johns Hopkins press release
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
OCT 18, 2019
Health & Medicine
OCT 18, 2019
Are Washing Machines a Reservoir for Multidrug Resistant Pathogens?
Multidrug-resistant bacteria are frequently found in hospitals and long-term nursing facilities causing one of the large...
OCT 24, 2019
Clinical & Molecular DX
OCT 24, 2019
Patients can Self-Inject Easily Using an Integrated Pre-Filled Syringe and Autoinjector
The patients suffering from chronic disease require a regular dose of medicines, either orally or as inje...
NOV 07, 2019
Clinical & Molecular DX
NOV 07, 2019
A Revealing Look at Rare Disease Incidence
Being diagnosed with a rare disease can be especially terrifying for patients. After all, many of these diseases have no treatment options. This is because
FEB 15, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
FEB 15, 2020
FDA nod for AI-powered technology to detect strokes
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has provided clearance for a novel technology that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to detect strokes. The platf
MAR 05, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
MAR 05, 2020
Human Stem Cells Cure Type 1 Diabetes in Mice
In the US alone, around 187,000 children and adolescents have Type 1 diabetes, alongside 1.4 million people aged 20 and over. Managing their condition with
MAR 24, 2020
Cardiology
MAR 24, 2020
Infection of The Heart
Inflammation of the heart muscle can affect the hearts electrical system. This can reduce the heart's ability to pump blood or may cause an abnormal he
Loading Comments...