The national Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN), operated under federal contract by United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), will soon perform the first match run of a national pilot program to facilitate kidney paired donation (KPD) transplants. The match run is intended to identify medically compatible pairs of potential living kidney donors and candidates, in cases where the potential donor was not able to match with his or her original intended recipient.
“In the last three years, kidney paired donation has made possible more than 700 transplants nationwide that otherwise wouldn’t have taken place,” said OPTN/UNOS President Charles Alexander, RN, M.S.N., M.B.A. “We believe many more transplants are possible. Through this national pilot program, we want to see whether having a national pool of potential donors and candidates will provide more opportunities for lives to be saved and enhanced.”
A total of 77 living kidney donor transplant programs will participate in the initial pilot phase. Each program is affiliated with one of four coordinating centers, which will work directly with UNOS on administrative issues such as donor/recipient applications, logistical arrangements and data submission. The coordinating centers are listed below.
- Alliance for Paired Donation
- Johns Hopkins Hospital
- New England Program for Kidney Exchange
- University of California at Los Angeles Medical Center/California Pacific Medical Center
Match runs will be conducted every four to five weeks with information on potential living donors and candidates supplied by participating transplant programs. Each transplant program must document that potential donors have completed a rigorous medical screening and evaluation process, and that they have provided detailed informed consent for donation and for potential participation in a national match run.
In addition to OPTN funding, the pilot project has been made possible by charitable support and in-kind donations from Carnegie Mellon University; the New England Program for Kidney Exchange; EDS Consulting; Sommer Gentry, Ph.D.; and numerous private charitable foundations.
Anyone interested in participating in the pilot program as a transplant candidate or potential living donor should contact one of the participating transplant programs. Each transplant program will make individual medical decisions about accepting living donors or candidates or whether they are appropriate for matching through the pilot program.
The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) is operated under contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Division of Transplantation by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). The OPTN brings together medical professionals, transplant recipients and donor families to develop organ transplantation policy.