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 currently the Director of the George Washington Transplant Institute and the Medical Director of The Ron and Joy Paul Kidney Center at George Washington University Medical School. Dr. Melancon is a Professor of Surgery whose specialties include kidney, pancreas and liver transplantation, as well as laparoscopic kidney donor nephrectomy. His research interests have centered upon increasing access to health care for minority patients, particularly in the field of organ transplantation.
Dr. Melancon has spent his career trying to improve outcomes for the hardest to transplant patients and therefore has been an advocate for ABO incompatible organ transplantation, paired kidney exchanges, and immune system desensitization strategies. Recently, Dr. Melancon and his team were the first ever to perform a fully ABO incompatible deceased donor kidney transplantation as well as a fully ABO incompatible living donor kidney transplantation in an individual with HIV infection.
He hopes that with novel immunosuppression protocols that organ transplants will begin to last for the life time of the patient and that true transplant tolerance can be achieved in the near future.