There are many kidney transplant patients in America who are unable to get a transplant because of HLA sensitization. People who suffer from this problem are unable to get a kidney transplant because a previous blood transfusion, pregnancy or transplant has primed their immune system to reject a transplant.
However, a recent development at the Johns Hopkins University can change the fortunes of people who are HLA sensitized. Researchers at the University have figured out a pay to erase the bodies memory of previous transplant or transfusion which will pave the way for successful kidney transplant.
The treatment uses plasmapheresis to remove harmful antibodies from the body. The number of treatments required will vary depending on the harmful antibodies present in the body. After each treatment the patient is given an intravenous infusion of immune globulin that replaces the harmful antibodies present in the body. It also helps in preventing the antibodies from returning and fights infections.
The result of the study were released in New England Journal of Medicine, Hopkins team found that plasmapheresis treatment worked on 211 of 215 patients that were treated from February 1998 until December 2009. Out of 211 patients that benefited from this treatment, 81 percent of the patients were alive after 8 years.
The process of desensitization comes with its own set of minor problems. Some people who went through this treatment complained of problems like headache, rashes, nausea, itching and shortness of breath. A few patients also complained of serious side-effects like allergic reaction to the treatment that led to dangerous swelling.
However, the researchers of the study have emphasized that benefits of the treatment outweighed the risk associated with the treatment. If people adopted this treatment, they will have to spend less time on dialysis and get kidney transplant sooner.