A new procedure, which alters a person’s immune system, could offer a breakthrough in transplant surgery allowing patients to receive kidneys from incompatible donors, experts have revealed.
Patients are currently forced to wait for a kidney to become available from a deceased donor.
And, in order for the operation to have a chance of success, that donor must be an absolute match, with anything less raising the chances of the body rejecting the new organ.
But, a new study now offers renewed hope of an alternative.
The breakthrough procedure, known as desensitization therapy, allows patients to receive kidneys from live donors, who are not exact matches.
Desensitization therapy filters out antibodies that would attack the non-matched organ, from the patient’s blood.
Patients who undergo the procedure are more likely to be alive after eight years than those who wait for a kidney from a deceased donor – or don’t receive a transplant, according researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
This ‘revolutionary’ procedure could help save lives by allowing more people to receive the kidneys they so desperately need.
Senior study author Dr Dorry Segev, of Johns Hopkins University, told Reuters: ‘We used to say if you had a compatible donor, you could do a transplant.
‘Now you can say, if you have an incompatible donor, we can make that transplant happen.
‘That’s very exciting to those on the waiting list.’
More than 100,000 people are currently on the waiting list in the US for a kidney, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing.