Researchers Change Blood Type of Kidney In Transplant Breakthrough

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Researchers have successfully altered the blood type of three donor kidneys in a gamechanging discovery that could significantly improve the chances of patients waiting for a transplant finding a match. The development could increase the supply of kidneys available for transplant, particularly within minority ethnic groups who are less likely to find a match, scientists say. A kidney from someone with blood type A cannot be transplanted to someone with blood type B, nor the other way around. But changing the blood type to the universal O would allow more transplants to take place as this can be used for people with any blood type.

University of Cambridge researchers used a normothermic perfusion machine — a device that connects with a human kidney to pass oxygenated blood through the organ to better preserve it for future use — to flush blood infused with an enzyme through the deceased donor’s kidney. The enzyme removed the blood type markers that line the blood vessels of the kidney, which led to the organ being converted to the most common O type. […] Now the researchers need to see how the newly changed O-type kidney will react to a patient’s usual blood type in their normal blood supply. The machine allows them to do this before testing in people, as they can take the kidneys that have been changed to the O type, and introduce different blood types to monitor how the kidney might react. The full paper on the work is set to be published in the British Journal of Surgery in the coming months.

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