According to a new study, filtering out the antibodies that can cause donor kidney rejection allows a higher success rate with live donor transplants. Many patients need a kidney transplant but are denied one because no donor organ can be found. Body organs, from dead bodies, are in short supply, and to have a kidney from a live donor means they must be of a compatible blood group.
But doctors at Johns Hopkins University may have a way around the blood barrier. They are treating the recipients blood prior to transplant, filtering out the antibodies that would otherwise destroy the foreign organ. This will allow transplant between any two people, regardless of blood type.
In a study 27 out of 29 recipients treated in this way are doing well after their transplant, with no sign of rejection. In fact, receiving a kidney from a living donor is a better option all round as the organs work straight away and last twice as long as cadaver kidneys. The new filtration procedure could increase the number of living donor kidney transplants by up to a half, say the researchers.