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Patients in need of a donation must find a compatible match. Getting the right testing is essential to ensuring the best results.

Seven years ago, when Maria Epperley’s infant nephew needed a kidney transplant, she was ready at a moment’s notice to volunteer.

“I told my sister to tell everyone else to not even bother. I knew I was going to be a match,” Epperley said.

Determining compatibility

Transplantation isn’t that simple, of course. According to Michael G. Spigarelli, MD, Ph.D., vice president of medical affairs for global transfusion and transplantation diagnostics at Immucor, there are several factors to consider when it comes to donor-recipient compatibility. They may include blood type, the level of antibodies in the recipient’s blood, a donor-recipient crossmatch and the number of human leukocyte antigens (HLA) in common between the donor and the recipient. Immucor’s HLA typing solutions and antibody detection platforms tackle these factors to deliver needed confidence to the transplant team and the patient.

Epperley, as chance would have it, was an ideal match, and the kidney she donated to her nephew is still keeping him healthy.

Ensuring success

According to the National Kidney Foundation, seven percent of kidney transplants fail within a year, and 17 percent fail within three years. Current routine monitoring of kidney function is nonspecific for acute rejection and is only detected after substantial damage. Acute rejection can be detected three months earlier with the Kidney Organ Response Test (kSORT) assay. Earlier detection allows providers the opportunity to modify immunosuppression to prevent subsequent rejection.

Wendy Lennon-Wilkes, who received a kidney last November reported to the hospital every month to test her level of antibodies. “Whatever they had to do, I wanted them to do it,” she said.

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