PITTSBURGHA man in St. Louis and a woman in New Hampshire have received the first kidney transplants made possible through a new national program of the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) that uses a Carnegie Mellon University computer algorithm to match transplant candidates with living donors.
Both recipients Ken Crowder of St. Louis and Kathy Niedzwiecki of Pelham, N.H. had loved ones who were willing to donate a kidney but who were medically incompatible with them. So, through a paired donation, Mr. Crowder's fiance, Rebecca Burkes, donated her kidney to Ms. Niedzwiecki and Ms. Niedzwiecki's sister-in-law, Cathy Richard of Henniker, N.H., donated her kidney to Mr. Crowder. The donor recovery and transplant operations took place Dec. 6 at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H.
The matches were identified during a computer run Oct. 27 that considered 43 transplant candidates and 45 donors. It was the first match run of the OPTN pilot program, which is expected to increase the number of kidney paired-donation (KPD) transplants by creating a national pool of mismatched donor-recipient pairs. The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) operates the OPTN under federal contract.
"It is gratifying to know that this pilot program has helped make these transplants possible," said Tuomas Sandholm, a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon who has led the development of computer algorithms for optimizing match runs. "As the size of the pool increases, we are confident that we can significantly boost the number of patients who are able to receive kidney transplants. The more people in the pool, the higher the portion of them we can save."
"Paired donation is helping the transplant community help people who otherwise could not get a living donor transplant. We're proud to be able to coordinate these for the first time using a national network for potential matches among
|Contact: Byron Spice|
Carnegie Mellon University