Scientists change kidney blood type in experiment with ‘revolutionary potential’ | Health

Researchers have successfully changed the blood type of donor kidneys in a finding that could increase the supply of organs for transplants.

Such a scientific advance has particular implications for minority groups, who most often find it difficult to find a new organ.

A kidney from someone with type A blood cannot be donated to someone with type B, for example.

The idea, then, was to change the blood profile of one kidney to type O, which is universal. In other words, this means that it can be transplanted to any patient.

People of African descent and ethnic minority groups often have to wait an extra year for a transplant compared to white patients. This happens because andthey are more likely to belong to type B blood groupless frequent in the population.

Organ donation rates among these populations are also lower. In 2020 and 2021, just over 9% of total UK registered organ donations came from black and ethnic minority donors.while people from these communities make up a third of the waiting list to receive a new kidney.

Scientists at the University of Cambridge in England used a normothermic perfusion machine — a device that passes oxygenated blood through a kidney to help preserve it — to infuse blood with a specific enzyme.

The enzyme is able to remove the blood type markers that line the arteries and veins of this organ. With this, it was possible to change the blood profile to type O.

The process took a few hours and was successfully performed on three donor kidneys.

Serena MacMillan, a doctoral student who participated in the study, said it was “very exciting to think about how this initiative could impact so many lives.”

The next step is to see how the kidneys react when they receive a blood supply from the new blood groupsomething that can be retested using a machine before the kidney is actually transplanted into a patient.

The research, which is funded by the NGO Kidney Research UK, is expected to be published in the British Journal of Surgery in the coming months.

Dr Aisling McMahon, the organization’s executive director of research, called the work “potentially revolutionary”.

The Brazilian Association of Transplants (ABTO) estimates that 12,600 patients needed a new kidney in the country in 2021 alone. In the same period, 4,700 procedures were performed.

‘Converting’ the kidney to universal blood type has revolutionary potential, scientists point out – Photo: Getty Images via BBC

Analysis by James Gallagher, BBC health and science correspondent

Changing the blood type of organs is a fascinating idea, but its impact on organ transplantation remains unproven.

There are doubts about the science behind this process and how much these techniques can increase the availability of organs for donation.

More testing will be needed to see how these “adjusted” organs behave when dealing with a new blood type, which was previously incompatible. You will need to ensure that this process does not damage the kidneys in any way.

All of this will need to be tested in the laboratory and then on a small number of patients.

What’s more, blood group is just one of three ways kidneys are considered compatible before transplantation — and half the population is already O positive or O negative (whose kidneys can be donated to anyone).

Cross-matching (where donor and recipient blood are mixed to see if there is a reaction or incompatibility) will still be a point of attention, particularly in minority groups.

While these doubts remain, the best way to increase the number of life-saving transplants remains the same: people in all communities need to become donors.

– This text was originally published in

About Raju Singh

Raju has an exquisite taste. For him, video games are more than entertainment and he likes to discuss forms and art.

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