Inside the UCLA voucher program that is overcoming chronological incompatibility and saving lives

By ASN Staff

The UCLA Kidney Transplant Program started a voucher program in 2014 which has already proven its utility and saved 25 lives. “The program works like this: The voucher donor gives a kidney to a stranger on dialysis. Often that recipient had a friend or family member who had wanted to be a donor but couldn’t due to incompatibility. Now that the person in need of a kidney has received the transplant and has been freed from dialysis, the friend or family member instead donates a kidney to another stranger, launching multiple transplant ‘chains’ that essentially mix and match incompatible recipient/donor pairs with compatible ones. These chains are frequently initiated by altruistic donors who give a kidney to a stranger out of simple generosity. While not guaranteed a kidney, the voucher recipient gets priority in being matched with a donor from the end of a future transplant chain”.

For example, “Howard Broadman’s grandson has kidney disease that is expected to lead to kidney failure in 10 to 15 years, requiring a transplant. By that time, Broadman would be about 80 years old, too old to qualify as a donor. Broadman’s December 2014 donation initiated a chain with three recipients, who were removed from a wait list for a kidney from a deceased person”. Due to his donation, his grandson will then have a priority spot on the list for donation when he needs one in the next 10-15 years.

“The researchers say the program is a ‘game-changer’ because it enables someone to donate now before becoming ineligible because of advancing age or unexpected life events. There are now 30 transplant centers that have joined the program as part of the National Kidney Registry.

Please read the full article or the study in Transplantation for more information.

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The UCLA Kidney Transplant Program started a voucher program in 2014 which has already proven its utility and saved 25 lives. “The program works like this: The voucher donor gives a kidney to a stranger on dialysis. Often that recipient had a friend or family member who had wanted to be a donor but couldn’t due to incompatibility. Now that the person in need of a kidney has received the transplant and has been freed from dialysis, the friend or family member instead donates a kidney to another stranger, launching multiple transplant ‘chains’ that essentially mix and match incompatible recipient/donor pairs with compatible ones. These chains are frequently initiated by altruistic donors who give a kidney to a stranger out of simple generosity. While not guaranteed a kidney, the voucher recipient gets priority in being matched with a donor from the end of a future transplant chain”.

For example, “Howard Broadman’s grandson has kidney disease that is expected to lead to kidney failure in 10 to 15 years, requiring a transplant. By that time, Broadman would be about 80 years old, too old to qualify as a donor. Broadman’s December 2014 donation initiated a chain with three recipients, who were removed from a wait list for a kidney from a deceased person”. Due to his donation, his grandson will then have a priority spot on the list for donation when he needs one in the next 10-15 years.

“The researchers say the program is a ‘game-changer’ because it enables someone to donate now before becoming ineligible because of advancing age or unexpected life events. There are now 30 transplant centers that have joined the program as part of the National Kidney Registry.

Please read the full article or the study in Transplantation for more information.

Date:
Monday, October 16, 2017