Researchers change blood type of kidney in transplant breakthrough

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Dec 1, 2020
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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.

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 type O.
 
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