The National Kidney Registry’s 50th Low Eplet Mismatch Transplant

The National Kidney Registry announced that yesterday marked the 50th successful low eplet mismatch kidney transplant facilitated through the Kidney for Life (KFL) program.

The KFL initiative utilizes the most advanced DNA sequencing technology to break down single bead antigens to the eplet level, opening up potential matches considered incompatible at the single bead level. This 50th transplant was incredibly significant because the kidney was mismatched on zero eplets. A low eplet mismatch is correlated with a lower risk of rejection and may provide patients the opportunity to safely reduce the recipient’s immunosuppression; a zero eplet mismatch has even more of an effect on reducing the risk of rejection and on how low the anti-rejection protocol can be lowered.

Dr. Robert Montgomery, the Chair of the Department of Surgery and Director of the NYU Langone Transplant Institute, utilized eplet mismatching analysis after his own heart transplant to guide a safe change in his immunosuppression so that he could return to surgery. Dr. Montgomery said, “Kidney transplant patients now have the opportunity to proactively find a low eplet mismatch donor through the Kidney for Life Initiative, which may allow them to enter protocols leading to reduced dosages of immunosuppression to mitigate the side effects of those medications with even better long-term outcomes.”

The University of Minnesota Kidney Transplant team leads the world in low eplet mismatched transplants. Dr. Raja Kandaswamy, Professor and Director of Kidney Transplant at the University of Minnesota stated, “This novel program will likely improve long-term outcomes for our patients. We are offering all of our living donor transplant patients access to this technology to maximize their outcomes and give them an opportunity to minimize post-transplant immunosuppression.”

“This is the future of kidney transplantation. Eplet matching has the potential to reduce immunosuppression while simultaneously reducing the chances of donor specific antibody formation and kidney injury. The fact this initiative has taken off so quickly is a testament to the transplant field’s continuous effort in outcomes improvement,” commended Dr. Matthew Cooper, Director of Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation at the MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute and Vice-President of UNOS.

The Kidney for Life initiative now has 17 transplant centers participating. For more information about the Kidney for Life initiative or if you need a kidney and would like to be referred to one of these centers, please visit https://www.kidneyforlife.org.