McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine
faculty member Ron Shapiro, MD (pictured), Surgical Director, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Professor of Surgery and Robert J. Corry Chair in Transplantation Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, recently facilitated the nation's first paired organ donation involving a pediatric patient. A paired transplant pairs donors and recipients who aren’t matches on their own and leads to a transplant where one may not have been possible.
Both recipients—Bennett, 5, and Jenny, 37—had polycystic kidney disease, a genetic disorder that leads to kidney failure, and had been on dialysis treatments. Their respective donors were Jenny’s aunt, Ruby, and Bennett’s dad, Dean. All four transplant patients are recovering well after the operations.
Jenny and Ruby registered in the Paired Donor Network first, waiting several months for a match. As soon as Bennett and Dean entered the system, registrars realized that a match could be made and contacted both families 2 hours later.
Dr. Shapiro, a leader in paired kidney exchange efforts at the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute, said it was very lucky for the hospital to find the right match for both Jenny and Bennett within its own database. It was a challenge to find matching kidneys for both patients because of antibodies present in their immune systems.
"It was like finding a needle in a haystack," Dr. Shapiro said.
Paired donations occur when an individual wants to donate an organ to a sick family member, but cannot do so because their blood types do not match. So the potential donor registers with the national Paired Donation Network and agrees to donate an organ to a different person in exchange for a matching organ from that person's family member. UPMC's chapter of the Paired Donation Network, one of a few private registries, has 40 potential donors on the list.
More than 80,000 people nationwide are waiting for a kidney, and 16,500 people received transplanted kidneys last year. Fewer than 6,000 received the organs from live donors.
Paired donations occur when someone wants to donate an organ to a relative but can't because the organ types don't match. Instead, the potential donor registers with the Paired Donation Network and agrees to donate to a different person in exchange for an organ from that family.
Illustration: McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
KDKA-TV (with video) (07/14/09)
WPXI.com (with video) (07/14/09)
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (07/15/09)
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (video) (7/15/09)
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (07/15/09)
Wilkes-Barre Times Leader (AP) (07/15/09)
Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC Kidney Transplant Program
Paired Donation Network
Bio: Dr. Ron Shapiro