Racial Disparities in Kidney Transplants Persist Despite New Allocation System

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Sanjay Kulkarni, MD MHCM FACSAssociate Professor of Surgery & MedicineSurgical Director – Kidney Transplant ProgramMedical Director – Center for Living Organ DonorsScientific Director – Yale Transplant ResearchNew Haven, CT 06410

Dr. Kulkarni

Sanjay Kulkarni, MD MHCM FACS
Associate Professor of Surgery & Medicine
Surgical Director – Kidney Transplant Program
Medical Director – Center for Living Organ Donors
Scientific Director – Yale Transplant Research
New Haven, CT 06410

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The kidney allocation system changed in December of 2014.

The aim of the new system was to increase transplant in patients who were highly sensitized (difficult matches based on reactive antibodies) and to improve access to underserved populations. Continue reading

Kidney Transplant Patients Risk Transplant Rejection When Medicare Coverage Ends

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Allyson Hart MD MSDepartment of Medicine, Hennepin Healthcare,University of MinnesotaMinneapolis, Minnesota

Dr. Hart

Allyson Hart MD MS
Department of Medicine, Hennepin Healthcare,
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Kidney transplantation confers profound survival, quality of life, and cost benefits over dialysis for the treatment of end-stage kidney disease. Kidney transplant recipients under 65 years of age qualify for Medicare coverage following transplantation, but coverage ends after three years for patients who are not disabled.

We studied 78,861 Medicare-covered kidney transplant recipients under the age of 65, and found that failure of the transplanted kidney was 990 percent to 1630 percent higher for recipients who lost Medicare coverage before this three-year time point compared with recipients who lost Medicare on time. Those who lost coverage after 3 years had a lesser, but still very marked, increased risk of kidney failure. Recipients who lost coverage before or after the three-year time point also filled immunosuppressive medications at a significantly lower rate than those who lost coverage on time. Continue reading

Kidney Transplant Patients at Increased Risk of Skin Cancer, Even After Graft Stops Working

MedicalResearch.com Interview with
"Kidney Model 9" by GreenFlames09 is licensed under CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0Donal JSextonMD, PhD
Department of Nephrology and Kidney Transplantation
Beaumont Hospital
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
Dublin, Ireland

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Patients who receive a kidney transplant as treatment for end stage kidney disease are at risk of malignancy due to immunosuppression. In contrast to

other solid organ transplant types, when kidney transplants fail it is possible for recipients to return to dialysis. Immunosuppression is usually reduced or completely stopped when  the allograft fails due to the risk of infection on dialysis.

We decided to investigate what the trajectory of risk for non-melanoma skin cancer and invasive cancers overall (composite group) looked like for patients who have received multiple consecutive kidney transplants with intervening periods of graft failure. We compared cancer risk during periods of allograft failure and periods of functioning kidney transplants.   Continue reading

Study Finds Kidneys With AKI Can Be Safely Transplanted

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Chirag R Parikh, M.B.B.S., Ph.D. Director,Division of Nephrology Professor of Medicine School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, Maryland 21287

Dr. Parikh

Chirag R Parikh, M.B.B.S., Ph.D.
Director,Division of Nephrology
Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, Maryland 21287 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The initial study idea stemmed from our earlier cohort studies of predictors of delayed graft function after kidney transplantation.  We previously found that kidneys from donors with Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) were more often discarded than kidneys from donors without AKI, and transplanted donor AKI kidneys were at increased risk for delayed graft function.

It was important to determine whether that increased risk for delayed graft function also translated into worse long-term outcomes for recipients of kidneys from donors with AKI.

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Hepatitis C Treatment After Kidney Transplant May Extend Lives and Decrease Costs

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Mark H. Eckman, MD Posey Professor of Clinical Medicine Director, Division of General Internal Medicine Director, Center for Clinical Effectiveness University of Cincinnati Medical Center Cincinnati, OH

Dr. Eckman

Mark H. Eckman, MD
Posey Professor of Clinical Medicine
Director, Division of General Internal Medicine
Director, Center for Clinical Effectiveness
University of Cincinnati Medical Center
Cincinnati, OH 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: People who are infected with hepatitis C virus and have kidney failure need a kidney transplant.

Recent studies have found that it is possible to transplant kidneys from donors who are infected with hepatitis C virus into patients who need a transplant and are already infected with the virus. In addition, drugs are available to cure most patients of hepatitis C virus, including those who have kidney failure. Infected patients who need a kidney transplant have 2 options. One option is to receive an infected kidney and then use drugs after the transplant to cure themselves and the transplanted kidney of the virus. Another option is to use the drugs first to get rid of the virus and then to receive a kidney from a donor who does not have hepatitis C virus infection.

For the more than 500,000 patients receiving dialysis for end-stage renal disease (ESRD), less than 4% receive kidney transplants. Because of the limited organ availability, hemodialysis is the final treatment for most patients with ESRD. Of the 10% or so of U.S. patients receiving dialysis who are infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV), some are willing to accept HCV-infected kidneys, in part, because the wait times for such kidneys are shorter than those for HCV-uninfected kidneys. Because the yearly mortality rate for patients receiving hemodialysis is so high, between 4% and 16%, reducing the time to kidney transplant can have a dramatic effect on both survival and quality of life.

Because it may not be possible to do this type of research with actual people, we created a model that allowed us to estimate possible outcomes without using actual people.

The model was a computer program that combined the best available information to approximate what might happen to participants in a real-world clinical trial. Continue reading

What Are The Health Risks To Living Kidney Donors?

Emanuele Di Angelantonio MPhl Department of Public Health and Primary Care School of Clinical Medicine University of Cambridge 

Emanuele Di Angelantonio

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Emanuele Di Angelantonio MPhl

Department of Public Health and Primary Care
School of Clinical Medicine
University of Cambridge 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: This systematic review supports and expands previous research suggesting that living kidney donors have no increased risk for several major chronic diseases, with the exception of end stage renal disease. Female donors seem to be at increased risk for preeclampsia. Furthermore, there was no evidence that living kidney donors had higher risk for mortality, cardiovascular disease, or type 2 diabetes, or reduced quality of life. –

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: This study highlights the low but real risks of living kidney donation and emphasise the importance of careful assessment and counseling for all living kidney donors. 

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: While this systematic review and meta-analysis provide some important answers, the field is still a long way from offering precise risk estimates to prospective donors.  

No disclosures 

Citations:

O’Keeffe LM, Ramond A, Oliver-Williams C, Willeit P, Paige E, Trotter P, et al. Mid- and Long-Term Health Risks in Living Kidney DonorsA Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Ann Intern Med. [Epub ahead of print 30 January 2018] doi: 10.7326/M17-1235

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Despite 20 Years of Programs and Policies, Racial Disparities in Kidney Transplants Widen

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Tanjala S. Purnell, PhD MPH Assistant Professor of Surgery, Epidemiology, and Health Behavior and Society Core Faculty, Epidemiology Research Group in Organ Transplantation Johns Hopkins University Associate Director for Education and Training, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Equity Member, OPTN/UNOS Minority Affairs Committee

Dr. Purnell

Tanjala S. Purnell, PhD MPH
Assistant Professor of Surgery, Epidemiology, and Health Behavior and Society
Core Faculty, Epidemiology Research Group in Organ Transplantation
Johns Hopkins University
Associate Director for Education and Training, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Equity
Member, OPTN/UNOS Minority Affairs Committee 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

  • Our study was motivated by the fact that we know live donor kidney transplants are associated with longer life expectancy and higher quality of life than deceased donor kidney transplants or long-term dialysis treatment. We also know that Black and Hispanic adults are more likely than White adults to have end-stage kidney disease but are less likely than White patients to receive live donor kidney transplants.
  • Over the last 2 decades, there have been several transplant education programs implemented within transplant centers and dialysis centers, and legislative policies enacted to improve overall access to live donor kidney transplants for patients. We wanted to see whether these programs and policies resulted in narrowed racial and ethnic disparities in access to live donor kidney transplants in the United States. 

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Donor Sex and Size Important to Kidney Transplant Success

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Amanda Miller, MD, FRCPC

Dalhousie University
Transplant Nephrology

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Earlier studies have shown that there may be a higher risk of kidney transplant failure if a kidney donor is smaller than their recipient. This may be due to increased strain on the relatively smaller transplanted kidney. Very few studies have investigated outcomes associated with donor and recipient weight mismatch measured directly by differences in body weight however. There is also a suggestion that sex mismatch between kidney donor and recipient may lead to worse outcomes post-transplant, however results from earlier studies have been controversial and conflicting. The combined effect of weight and sex matching/mismatching between kidney donor and recipient (two very important and physiologically relevant factors) has not been rigorously studied previously.

Thus, the aim of this study was to determine if receiving a kidney transplant from a smaller donor of the opposite sex would impact transplant outcomes. Accounting for other transplant variables, we demonstrated that if a kidney transplant recipient is more than 30 kg (66 pounds) heavier than the donor there is a 28% increased risk of the transplant failing compared to equally weighted donors and recipients. If the kidney is from a smaller donor of the opposite sex, the risk of transplant failure is further increased to 35% for a male receiving a kidney from a female donor, and 50% for a female receiving a kidney from a male donor. This risk is high and is similar to that when a recipient receives a kidney transplant from a donor who has diabetes; a known risk factor for kidney failure in the non-transplant population.

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Cancer Killed While Preserving A Kidney Transplant

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kenar D. Jhaveri, MD Professor of Medicine Division of Kidney Diseases and Hypertension Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine, 100 Community Drive, Great Neck, NY 11021

Dr. Kenar Jhaveri,

Kenar D. Jhaveri, MD
Professor of Medicine
Division of Kidney Diseases and Hypertension
Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine,
100 Community Drive, Great Neck, NY 11021

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The immune check point inhibitors are novel anti cancer agents being used rapidly in various cancers. Many cancers don’t allow our natural immune system to attack the cancer. These immunotherapy agents “activate” the immune system to attack the cancer. These agents have been reported to cause multiple end organ side effects as noted by this recent NYT article. We also recently reported the known renal effects of immunotherapy.

In the kidney transplant patient who is on immunosuppressive agents, the physicians need to keep the immune system suppressed to preserve the kidney. When one of these agents are used for a cancer in a kidney transplant patient, prior reports have suggested severe rejection episodes and loss of the transplanted kidney. Our case in the NEJM is the first report of a preventive strategy used to allow for simultaneous treatment of cancer and preventive rejection of the kidney. We used a regimen of steroids and sirolimus( an anti-proliferative agent that is used to treat cancer and also is an immunosuppresant) along with the immunotherapy. The cancer started regressing and the kidney did not reject.

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New Protocol To Allow Rapid Steroid Reduction After Kidney Transplantation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Prof. Dr. med. Christian Hugo
Head, Division of Nephrology
Medical Clinic III
Universitätsklinikum Carl Gustav Carus
an der Technischen Universität Dresden
Dresden

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: At the end of 2007, the harmony trial was designed predominantly based on the one year results of the ELITE-Symphony trial, demonstrating that low dose tacrolimus, mycophenolate mofetile, and steroids together with monoclonal interleukin-2-receptor (CD 25 antigen) antibody induction therapy has superior efficacy in renal transplant patients compared to all other regimens (low or normal dose cyclosporine or sirolimus) tested. While these advantages of the low dose tacrolimus protocol were so convincing to become the new gold standard of immunosuppressive therapy within the next few years (see KDIGO guide lines for renal transplantation in 2009), the low dose tacrolimus treatment arm also demonstrated increased incidence rates regarding post-transplantation diabetes mellitus (PTDM, at that time called new onset of diabetes after transplantation – NODAT) compared to the low cyclosporine treatment arm. Previous studies had also demonstrated a detrimental association between NODAT and cardiovascular events and mortality, the leading cause of death in renal transplant recipients. Corticosteroid-free or rapid withdrawal regimens were relatively encouraging regarding influencing NODAT rates but only at the price of an increased rate of T cell mediated acute rejections.

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Sports Improve Quality of Life For Kidney Transplant Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Elvira Cicognani PhD
Department of Psychology
School of Psychology and Education, University of Bologna
Piazza Aldo Moro, 90 – Cesena, Italy –
Viale Berti Pichat, 5 – Bologna, Italy

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Cicognani: The study is part of a larger project of the Italian National Transplant Center (Centro Nazionale Trapianti, CNT), started in 2008, in collaboration with Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Centro Studi Isokinetic, University of Bologna, Cimurri Impresa e Sport and Patients’ associations. The general aim is to encourage transplant patients to practice physical activity and even sport activity, in view of its benefits in enhancing recovery and quality of life after transplantation.

In this study we assessed Health-related quality of life on 118 active kidney transplant patients practicing different sports at low to moderate intensity and compared them with those of 79 sedentary kidney transplant patients and with 120 active healthy control subjects.

Active transplant patients reported higher levels of quality of life than sedentary patients on most dimensions of quality of life and similar to active healthy controls. In brief, practicing sports may allow patients to achieve a level of quality of life similar to the general population of active individuals.
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Kidney Transplant: Rejection Decreased By New Drug Regimen

MedicalResearch.com Interview with
Dr. Richard Haynes
Clinical Trial Service Unit and Epidemiological Studies Unit
Roosevelt Drive, Headington
Oxford OX3

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Haynes: The main result from this analysis is that alemtuzumab-based induction therapy (ie, alemtuzumab followed by low-dose mycophenolate and tacrolimus with steroid avoidance) reduced biopsy-proven acute rejection by about half during the first 6 months after transplantation among a wide variety of different types of participant, compared to standard basiliximab-based induction therapy (basiliximab followed by standard dose mycophenolate, tacrolimus and steroids). This reduction was achieved despite the lower doses of tacrolimus used and there was no excess of infection observed.
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What is the Risk To Donors of Giving Away A Kidney?

Dr Hallvard Holdaas Consultant in Nephrology National Hospital of Oslo, NorwayMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Hallvard Holdaas
Consultant in Nephrology
Department of Transplant Medicine
Oslo University Hospital
Rikshospitalet, Oslo Norway.

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Holdaas: Most studies examining long-term risk for living kidney donors have included  comparators from the background population with hypertension, diabetes mellitus, reduced renal function, cancer and other concomitant diseases; or for the few studies with more “healthy” comparators the follow-up time have been restricted. In our study we compared living donors to a healthy non-donor population which would have qualified as donors themselves, with median follow-up of 15.1 years for the donors. The relative risk for the living donors compared to a healthy control was 11.38 for endstage renal disease (ESRD), 1.4 for cardiovascular death and 1.3 for all-cause mortality (Mjoen et al., 2014).

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Donated Kidneys May Serve as Scaffolding to Grow New Kidneys for Kidney Failure Patients

MedicalResearch.com eInterview with Dr. Giuseppe Orlando, M.D., Ph.D.  Instructor, General Surgery Specialty Areas: Transplant Urology, Kidney Transplantation, Pancreas Transplantation, Transplant Immunology, Transplant Immunosuppression, Transplant Surgery Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center Medical Center Boulevard, Winston-Salem, NC 27157.MedicalResearch.com eInterview with Dr. Giuseppe Orlando, M.D., Ph.D.

Instructor, General Surgery
Specialty Areas: Transplant Urology, Kidney Transplantation, Pancreas Transplantation, Transplant Immunology, Transplant Immunosuppression, Transplant Surgery
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
Medical Center Boulevard, Winston-Salem, NC 27157.

MedicalResearch.com:  What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Orlando: Our study shows that we can use discarded kidneys from deceased human donors as platform for kidney regeneration investigations. As of now, we are using porcine models, after having developed smaller scale models (mainly in rodents, as it normally occurs in health science ie we need to provide the proof of concept in small animals before scaling up to larger animals which, for obvious reasons, are clinically more relevant). In regenerative medicine we know that cells do not survive if they are not seeded on supporting platforms which we call “scaffolds”. There are several types of scaffolds, but probably the most effective are the ones that we can produce from animal/human organs. Basically, every organ consists of a cellular component which is endowed within the framework of the so-called extracellular matrix. When we strip cells out of an organ, what remains is the acellular extracellular matrix. Quite strikingly, the acellular organ in question maintains the same shape and volume that it had before stripping. What counts is that the so-obtained scaffold contains most information that cells require to grow, be viable and exert their function. It looks like this happens also for discarded human kidneys which may represent the most promising platform for our research
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