News / Health

Transplant Procedure Increases Supply of Available Kidneys

Donor Pamela Paulk, 55, of Baltimore, Md., embraces transplant surgeon Dr. Robert Montgomery after sharing her transplant story during a press conference at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, July 7, 2009 (file photo)
Donor Pamela Paulk, 55, of Baltimore, Md., embraces transplant surgeon Dr. Robert Montgomery after sharing her transplant story during a press conference at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, July 7, 2009 (file photo)
Jessica Berman

Researchers say a new medical procedure has the potential to provide donor organs to thousands of transplant patients worldwide who are on waiting lists for available kidneys. The procedure makes it possible to transplant kidneys that might otherwise be rejected by the patients.  

An estimated 85,000 people in the United States and tens of thousands of people internationally are on lists waiting for suitable kidneys for transplant. But experts say only about one-quarter of these patients receive a transplant each year in the United States, and as many as 5,000 others die waiting for a compatible donor kidney.  

The deaths are usually related to complications of dialysis, a process that filters the blood, removing waste products normally cleansed by healthy kidneys. But dialysis is not a replacement for functioning kidneys and many patients succumb to cardiovascular disease.

Experts say that finding the matching kidneys is a challenge because many patients have antibodies in their systems that would destroy an organ that is not the right tissue or HLA type.   

According to transplant surgeon Robert Montgomery of The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, people usually develop antibodies following exposure to foreign tissue, such as a blood transfusion, or with pregnancy, when half of a baby’s DNA comes from the father.

“We usually think of antibodies as being a good thing," said Dr. Montgomery. "But this prevents people then after a pregnancy, some people who develop this antibody, from getting a transplant. And women indeed are disproportionately affected by this problem. Two-thirds of the patients who are in our study are women.”

Researchers at Johns Hopkins have developed a protocol to desensitize these individuals, so they can receive kidneys that normally would be rejected. The procedure, called plasmapheresis, removes the troublesome antibodies in patients who are scheduled to receive a kidney from an incompatible donor.  

In a study conducted by Montgomery and his colleagues, 211 patients also were given a course of immunoglobulin proteins to further neutralize the antibodies.  

Montgomery said plasmapheresis plus immunoglobulin therapy greatly increased survival of transplant patients compared to those on dialysis.

“What we’ve shown is that patients who are offered this therapy at the end of eight years double their survival rate compared to similar patients who stay on the list - similar patients who have a similar degree of sensitization who stay on the list waiting for a compatible organ,” said Montgomery.

Montgomery said the desensitizing procedure might result in 3,000 more live kidney donor transplants in the United States each year.

For now, he said, the protocol works only with patients receiving kidneys from living donors because it takes time to prepare them for surgery, which can be scheduled in advance. Montgomery said, though, transplant surgeons at Johns Hopkins are investigating plasmapheresis to increase the supply of other organs and tissue, including hearts and bone marrow.

An article on the desensitizing procedure for live kidney transplants is published in The New England Journal of Medicine.


You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid