Scientists have changed the blood type of kidneys for transplantation: this increases the chances of patients with rare blood types to live
Cambridge University researchers successfully changed the blood type of three donor kidneys. The discovery could significantly improve the chances of patients with rare blood types waiting for a transplant, reports The Guardian.
To change the blood type, scientists connected the kidney to a normothermic perfusion machine, which pumps oxygenated blood through the organ and keeps it viable. After that, the kidney was washed with enzyme-filled blood. The enzyme removed the marker blood types that line the kidney’s blood vessels, leading to transformation of the organ into the most common type O.
At first, scientists tried to change a piece of kidney in this way. Very quickly they saw that the antigens had been removed and decided to apply the enzyme to a whole kidney.
“By taking B type human kidneys and pumping the enzyme through the organ using our normothermic prefusion machine, we saw in a matter of just a few hours that we had converted a B type kidney into an O type. It’s very exciting to think about how this could potentially impact so many lives,” says one of the researchers.
The researchers now have to test how the newly transplanted kidney will react to the patient’s normal blood type with a normal blood supply.