Giving High-Risk Patients a Better Chance for Successful Transplantation.
Antibodies are the enemy of transplanted organs.
- The immune system creates antibodies in the bloodstream to attack foreign bodies — usually germs.
- They may also attack transplanted organs — this is called transplant rejection.
Transplant patients' immune systems may become highly-sensitized (and create many antibodies) due to:
- Blood transfusions
- Previous transplants
For some highly-sensitized patients, organ transplantation is not an option due to an increased risk of rejection.
New options offer hope to highly-sensitized patients.
Paired kidney donation
- When a living kidney donor and intended recipient aren't a match, programs can find others in the same situation.
- If donor A is a match for recipient B and vice versa, the kidneys can be swapped across pairs.
- Better-matched organs reduce the chance of rejection.
Access to cutting edge research
- Clinical trials to test potential new therapies.
- Laboratory and translational research by Mayo Clinic investigators to understand both antibody production and its effect on graft survival.
- Multidisciplinary clinical protocols to improve the outcomes of highly-sensitized patients in kidney, heart, lung, pancreas and liver transplantation.
Giving sensitized kidney patients higher priority
- Highly-sensitized patients get higher priority on the national organ transplant waiting list.
- Gain access to organs with fewest antibodies.
- Changes to the system enable better matches to be found.
Transplanting liver first in multi-organ transplants
- Transplanting a liver first in the same surgery helps reduce antibodies in the bloodstream.
- The liver is the body's filter.
- Lower rejection rates in liver-kidney transplants than in kidney-alone transplants.*
- Has recently been used successfully in liver-heart transplants.
*Depending on the amount of antibodies at the time of transplant.
High-volume transplant centers offer special programs for highly-sensitized patients.
Highly-sensitized patients can benefit from:
- List of unmatched donors seeking paired donation.
- Access to clinical trials.
- Experienced surgical teams capable of complex operations.
Sources: MayoClinic.org; OPTN.Transplant.HRSA.gov.