Chronic dialysis in patients with end-stage renal disease: Relevance to kidney xenotransplantation

Abhijit Jagdale, David K C Cooper, Hayato Iwase, Robert S Gaston
Xenotransplantation 2019, 26 (2): e12471
Renal allotransplantation clearly offers better survival and quality of life for end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients than chronic dialysis. The median waiting time for a deceased donor kidney in a suitable ESRD patient is 3.9 years. The initial candidates for pig kidney xenotransplantation will be those with ESRD unlikely to receive an allograft within a reasonable period of time. It is thus reasonable to ascertain whether clinical trials of xenotransplantation might likewise offer superior outcomes. Chronic dialysis in patients with ESRD is associated with poor quality of life, significant morbidity, and relatively high mortality, with only 56% surviving 3 years and 42% at 5 years. However, a significant number of these patients, because of comorbidities, frailty, etc, would not be considered for renal allotransplantation and likely not for xenotransplantation. As genetically engineered pig kidneys have satisfactorily supported life in immunosuppressed nonhuman primates for many months or even more than a year, consideration in carefully selected patients could be given to pig kidney xenotransplantation. We suggest that, in order to give a patient the best possible outcome, the pig kidney could be transplanted pre-emptively (before dialysis is initiated). If it fails at any stage, the patient would then begin chronic dialysis and continue to await an allograft. The present (limited) evidence is that failure of a pig graft would not be detrimental to a subsequent allograft.

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