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

Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving

Feasts centering on turkeys with an array of traditional sides and desserts are part of the holiday's traditions, which falls on the fourth Thursday in November More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee 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.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid