Wednesday June 26, 2019

Kidney Transplant becomes New Possibility to cure Terminally-Ill Kidney Patients in US

The patients with the transplanted kidney are treated for Hepatitis C

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November 2, 2016: Thousands of people with failing kidneys may soon have a better chance of surviving with a transplanted kidney, but with added risk of receiving a potentially deadly disease. Some patients and doctors say it’s better to contract a disease that can be kept under control than to die while waiting for a healthy kidney.

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For almost 100,000 people in the US, finding a suitable kidney donor is their only hope of returning to a normal life without painful dialysis several times a week, but there are only about 17,000 healthy kidneys available each year. About 4 percent of patients on the transplant waiting list die each year before they receive a kidney. Doctors say the availability of kidneys can be increased but with some additional risk.

Dr Peter Reeves from the University of Pennsylvania says, “We are giving them the opportunity to have a transplant but we are also treating them for a new infection they didn’t have. So that is the trade-off.”

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In a pioneering experiment conducted jointly at the University of Pennsylvania in Johns Hopkins University, doctors are offering to transplant kidneys from disease donors infected with Hepatitis C, a virus-borne disease that attacks the liver but keeps kidneys intact.

Patients who receive such kidneys are no longer required to endure dialysis but have to start taking drugs to keep Hepatitis C in check. The drugs are not cheap and in a small number of cases may not work. After long talks with doctors about all possible outcomes of the procedure some patients accepted the risk.

According to Irma Hendricks, a kidney transplant recipient, “If they didn’t have this study, I wouldn’t be where I am today. So I am extremely grateful.”

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The concept has become popular after the discovery of a new and more effective drug that promises to cure ninety-five percent of Hepatitis C patients. Researchers say, if the clinical trials proves to successful, hundreds of available kidneys may become available for saving the lives of patients with incurable kidney disease.

– prepared by NewsGram Team

Next Story

World’s First HIV-to-HIV Kidney Transplant in Maryland

A team from Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore performed the surgery March 25

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surgeons, HIV, kidney transplant
Nina Martinez, an organ donor, poses at Johns Hopkins after she participated in the first HIV-positive patient to HIV-positive patient kidney transplant in Baltimore, Maryland, March 28, 2019. VOA

For the first time, a person living with HIV has donated a kidney to a transplant recipient also living with HIV. A team from Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore performed the surgery March 25.

“A disease that was a death sentence in the 1980s has become one so well-controlled that those living with HIV can now save lives with kidney donation,” Dr. Dorry Segev, professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said Thursday at a news conference.

Organs have been transplanted from an HIV-positive cadaver to an HIV-positive patient; however, HIV is known to cause kidney disease, so people living with HIV have not previously been able to donate kidneys.

Segev said he and his colleagues researched more than 40,000 people living with HIV, looking specifically at kidney health. They found that people whose HIV was under control have the same health risks as those without HIV, and are healthy enough to donate kidneys. In addition, antiretroviral therapy allows people with HIV to have a normal lifespan.

HIV, kidney transplant, surgeons
Organs have been transplanted from an HIV-positive cadaver to an HIV-positive patient. Pixabay

Stigma of HIV

Dr. Christine Durand, an infectious disease and cancer specialist at Johns Hopkins, said the transplant procedure advances medicine while helping defeat the stigma associated with HIV.

“It challenges providers and the public to see HIV differently,” she said. “Every successful transplant shortens the waitlist for all patients, no matter their HIV status.”

Durand and Segev are leading HOPE in Action, an effort that encompasses multiple national studies exploring the feasibility, safety and effectiveness of HIV-to-HIV transplantation. Currently, HIV to non-HIV organ donations are not legal.

The donor

The kidney donor, Nina Martinez, has had HIV since early childhood. She decided she wanted to be a donor after watching a TV drama about the first living kidney donor with HIV.

“Some people believe that people living with HIV are sick, or look unwell,” said Martinez, who works to eliminate the stigma surrounding HIV. “As a policy advocate, I want people to change what they believe they know about HIV. I don’t want to be anyone’s hero. I want to be someone’s example, someone’s reason to consider donating.”

HIV, kidney transplant, surgeons
A team from Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore performed the surgery March 25. Wikimedia

After corresponding with Segev, Martinez traveled to Baltimore last year for an evaluation. The surgical team at Johns Hopkins found that Martinez had healthy kidneys and a very low amount of HIV in her blood.

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People with well-controlled HIV who don’t have a history of diabetes, uncontrolled high blood pressure, or protein in their urine could be healthy enough to donate.

Segev said both the donor and the recipient are doing well. The recipient has asked to remain anonymous.

About 113,000 people are on the transplant waiting list in the United States. The longest wait is for a kidney. About 20 Americans die each day while waiting. (VOA)