Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Kidneys Infected with Hepatitis C Safe for Dialysis Patients

Researchers at Johns Hopkins report their use of a drug that cures the infection, leaving the kidneys suitable for use by dialysis patients desperate for a transplant.

They carried out a small study (only ten very sick patients were involved), where patients were given a transplant with an infected kidney, then treated with a drug prevents hepatitis C from replicating in the body. In each test, the patient had been waiting for quite some time for a donor but no suitable living donor was available. This was a very risky experiment for these patients. But it was worth it - all 10 patients were found to be clear of the virus after their 12-week course of medication using Zepatier, donated by Merck which funded the study, was complete.

Normally kidneys infected with hepatitis would be rejected as an option for transplants. Will this research doesn't mean there will be a flood of new potential donors, it will increase the pool of available organs, and should enable more transplants to take place.

You can read more about this in the research article here from the Johns Hopkins researchers, and also in an earlier report here, and on NBC NEWS, which includes an interview with one of the team.

There are several other articles on this type of treatment if you just google on  "hepatitis c kidneys used in transplants".