Kidney for Life

The Kidney for Life initiative utilizes the latest generation in DNA sequencing technology to assess the histologic, or eplet, mismatch between patients and donors and get patients the best match possible so the transplanted kidney can last as long as possible, potentially even the patient’s whole life.

This assessment allows our transplant centers to better select donors for specific recipients by better understanding the epitope mismatch risk between the donor and recipient. Epitope mismatch risk assessment is a more accurate matching technology than traditional antigen matching.

After transplant, immunosuppressive medications keep the transplanted organ from being rejected. These immunosuppressive medications have side effects. Therefore, dosages should be appropriately minimized, when possible.

Studies have shown that getting a low-risk match based on epitope mismatch risk assessment creates an opportunity to safely reduce immunosuppression dosages.

Low Eplet Mismatches

  • An antigen mismatch is where rejection often starts.
  • Antigens are made up of eplets.
  • By understanding the eplet mismatch between a donor and recipient, the recipient’s medical team can better understand the risk for rejection.
  • Paired exchange through the National Kidney Registry is finding more and more low and zero eplet mismatches for kidney transplant recipients every day.
  • By minimizing eplet mismatches and understanding the match they receive, a recipient can potentially:
    • reduce the risk of de novo DSA formation
    • lower the probability of rejection
    • lower the probability of graft failure
    • lower their immune-suppression dosage
    • only require one transplant during their lifetime
  • The only pair that cannot benefit from entering paired exchange to find a low eplet mismatch is a six-antigen sibling pair.

Lower Immuno-Suppression

  • All transplant recipients take some form of anti-rejection medications after transplant.
  • This medication has side effects including but not limited to, a weakened immune system, tremors, diarrhea, high blood pressure and decreased magnesium.
  • By knowing what your eplet mismatch score is, your transplant team can better tailor your immune-suppression dosages.
  • By getting a low or zero eplet mismatch, some patients can safely lower their immuno-suppression, thus mitigating the severity of the medications’ side effects.

To learn more, please visit the Kidney for Life website.