Though minority populations are at greater risk for developing kidney disease, kidney transplant is often more difficult for racial and ethnic minorities to access. This is in part due to the lack of willing or compatible donors within the minority community. Paired kidney exchange is an innovative method that increases the availability of compatible kidney donors, and may be effective in improving the minority transplant disparity.
Paired kidney exchanges make kidney transplant an option for patients who have a family member or friend who is willing to donate a kidney, but is not a match for the patient. In a paired exchange, two or more patients who have willing, but incompatible (not a match) donors enter into a group. Patients in this group receive kidneys from other group members’ family members and friends whose kidneys are incompatible with their own loved one, but are matches to another member of the group.
Our speaker, Dr. Keith Melancon, director of the George Washington Transplant Institute will discuss:
- The paired kidney exchange process
- ABO compatibility in transplantation
- The need for more live donor kidney transplants in the minority community
Dr. Keith Melancon
Dr. Melancon is originally from Louisiana and did his medical training at Tulane University in New Orleans. After completing his surgical training, Dr. Melancon did a multi-organ transplant fellowship at the University of Minnesota. After his fellowship training, Dr. Melancon became the director of kidney and pancreas transplantation first, at John Hopkins University, followed by Georgetown University, the Washington Hospital Center, and the Children’s National Medical Center from the years 2004 to 2012.
Since 2013, Dr. Melancon has been the director of the George Washington Transplant Institute where he is a professor of surgery and the medical director of the Ron and Joy Paul Kidney Center. Dr. Melancon is an internationally renowned expert in paired kidney exchanges, ABO incompatible kidney transplantation, pancreas transplantation, and immunologic desensitization for organ transplants. Dr. Melancon has on four occasions set the world’s record for largest paired kidney exchange. Dr. Melancon’s passion and research has centered on trying to increase access to organ transplantation for minority patients and sensitized patients who have few options for kidney transplantation."