Bid to Speed Transplants With Hepatitis C-Infected Kidneys

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Bid to Speed Transplants With Hepatitis C-Infected Kidneys

Donated kidneys infected with hepatitis C may be used in the near future.

Some patients facing a years-long wait for a kidney transplant are jumping ahead in line thanks to a startling experiment: They’re agreeing to an organ almost sure to infect them with hepatitis C.

Knowingly transmitting a dangerous virus may sound drastic but two leading transplant centers are betting the strategy will save lives — if new medications that promise to cure hepatitis C allow use of organs that today go to waste.

Pilot studies are under way at the University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins University to test transplanting kidneys from deceased donors with hepatitis C into recipients who don’t already have that virus. If the research eventually pans out, hundreds more kidneys — and maybe some hearts and lungs, too — could be transplanted every year.

“We always dreaded hepatitis C,” said Dr. Peter Reese, a Penn kidney specialist who is helping lead the research. “But now hepatitis C is just a different disease,” enough to consider what he calls the tradeoff of getting a new kidney years faster but one that comes with a hopefully treatable infection.

It’s a tradeoff prompted by the nation’s organ shortage. More than 99,000 people are on the national kidney waiting list but only about 17,000 people a year get a transplant and 4 percent a year die waiting, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).

Read Full Article: Bid to Speed Transplants With Hepatitis C-Infected Kidneys

Read Full Article: Bid to Speed Transplants With Hepatitis C-Infected Kidneys

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