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

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    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.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora