A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine states that doctors from Johns Hopkins have successfully altered a patient’s immune system to allow them to accept kidneys from an incompatible donor. At present, many kidney patients wait for a prospective donor for years or adopt dialysis, a difficult draining procedure that can pretty much take over the patient’s life.
The new method known as desensitisation involves filtering antibodies out of a patient’s blood. Thereafter, the patient is infused with the other antibodies to provide protection while the immune system regenerates its own antibodies. Due to reasons unknown, the patients’ regenerated antibodies are less likely to attack the new organ. However, if the regenerated antibodies are likely to be a concern, then the patient is treated with drugs to destroy any white blood cells that are likely to be a concern for the new kidney.
The desensitisation procedure can take as long as two weeks and is performed before the transplant operation. This means the patients must have a living donor. A person by the name Clint Smith from US underwent the desensitisation process about four years ago and today, he is back to his routnine active life.