New ‘Double Matched Blood’ Technique Shields Kidney Transplants From Rejection

Scientists at Hammersmith Hospital in London are conducting a six-month pilot scheme to double match blood intended for kidney transplant patients, with the aim of reducing the chances of organ rejection. In addition to matching blood by type, the researchers will also match white blood cells as closely as possible. If successful, the initiative could be rolled out nationally. Currently, around two in every five kidney transplant patients require blood transfusions before or after the procedure.

Each year, approximately 1,000 kidney transplant patients receive a transfusion, and if all eligible patients could benefit from a successful transfusion program, around 100 kidney transplants per year could be saved, according to Dr Colin Brown, NHS Blood and Transplant consultant clinical scientist. By matching white blood cell type, also known as tissue or HLA type, between blood donors and transplant patients, the risk of organ rejection is expected to decrease. The blood matching will be carried out by NHS Blood and Transplant at a specialist laboratory in Colindale, London, and supplied to selected pre and post-transplant patients at Hammersmith Hospital.

This pilot program offers hope to patients like Gemma Louis, a 44-year-old civil servant from Chester-le-Street in Co Durham, who has been waiting for a kidney transplant for 11 years due to sensitization from a previous blood transfusion. Similarly, 25-year-old Alisha Gorkani from Sidcup, south London, who has juvenile nephronophthisis and has spent seven years waiting for a matching kidney transplant, has developed antibodies from blood transfusions and a past kidney transplant. The success of this program could potentially improve the chances of finding suitable matches for patients like Gemma and Alisha, who are among the 5,870 people in the UK currently on the kidney transplant waiting list.


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