Johns Hopkins University Medical School has developed a protocol to make it possible to transplant kidneys from incompatible donors.: image via safemedtrip.comAt Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, researchers have been working on a desensitization procedure that neutralizes the antibodies of patients receiving kidney transplants to increase acceptance of incompatible kidneys....
The lists of dialysis patients waiting for compatible kidney donors are legend. In the U.S. only about 25 percent of the 85,000 persons on the waiting list receive compatible kidneys in a given year, and of those still waiting, about 5,000 people die from complications of dialysis, which can include cardiovascular disease.
If kidney patients could somehow accept kidneys from non-compatible donors, the waiting lists would be shortened and deaths from dialysis complications would be more rare. But without some kind of treatment, the recipients develop antibodies to reject the new kidney, as they would any transplant or foreign organ in their bodies.
The Hopkins researchers, led by transplant surgeon Robert Montgomery, used low-dose immune globulin therapy together with plasmapheresis, a form of cleansing the patient's blood of antibodies, to 211 patients who underwent kidney transplants from incompatible live donors.
Following the experimental and two control groups - one group having received compatible transplants and the other group still on dialysis - results showed survival rates of the experimental group comparable to the other groups after one year, but a significantly higher survival rate than the other two groups after 3, 5, and 8 years. In fact, after 8 years, those that received the 'desensitization' therapy and incompatible kidneys had increased survival rate by twice that of the other two groups.
The Johns Hopkins protocol has the potential to increase kidney transplantation for up to 3,000 patients per year. Further research with this desensitization therapy will be conducted for other potential organ transplant patients as well.
Desensitization in HLA-Incompatible Kidney Recipients and Survival, New England Journal of Medicine via voanews.com