No More Dialysis
Reported October, 2007
Los Angeles -- Seventy-thousand Americans are waiting for a kidney transplant. A third of them are parked on dialysis because their antibody levels are too high for a transplant. But that's no longer a barrier for some people.
"I used to just sit around and throw up," says former dialysis patient Soraya Kohanzadeh.
Dialysis is something Kohanzadeh would rather forget, but if telling her story saves lives, it's worth it. Kohanzadeh -- like many kidney failure patients -- developed high levels of "anti-donor" antibodies through blood transfusions. Her highly sensitized immune system would likely reject any donated kidney.
"Essentially, she would have a very short, sick life on dialysis," says Joan Lando, Kohanzadeh's mother.
But Kohanzadeh is no longer here, thanks to intravenous immunoglobulin therapy or IVIG. Here's how it works: during dialysis, patients are given blood containing a mix of immunoglobulins, which "turn-off" the anti-donor antibodies' attack response without suppressing the patient's immune system.
"A significant other comes forward, donates an organ, and there's an incompatibility there. We can treat the patient and remove those antibodies. Then the transplant can be done," Stanley Jordan, M.D., director of nephrology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
More than a year after surgery, Lando's kidney keeps her daughter alive.
"It was sort of shocking to think I wasn't going to have to be sick forever," Kohanzadeh says.
Through their website, this mother-daughter team works to spread the word of a little known therapy that could save thousands in need of a kidney. IVIG is covered by Medicare and can be used in both living and cadaver-donor transplants. Nearly 30 percent of patients on the kidney transplant list might benefit from this therapy. To learn more go to http://www.sevenluckystars.com.
Click here to Go Inside This Science or contact:
Sandy Van, Public Information Officer
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
This Month's TV Reports
No more parking attendants or tips! We’ll show you the latest technology that is turning parking garages into big Lazy Susans.
Recycling Without Sorting
No more separating! We’ll show you an easier way to recycle that’s helping to clean up the environment.
Stopping Sinkholes & Street Floods
Many of the nation's pipe lines and sewers need to be replaced -- this new device could save billions of dollars.
From Immigrant to Brain Surgeon
Once an illegal immigrant, this brain surgeon is now hoping to find the cure for cancer.
No More Dialysis
It could save thousands of lives, yet most people on the kidney transplant list don’t even know it exists.
Paired Kidney Exchange
New computer technology could make a life or death difference for patients who need a kidney.
Scientists are getting a break in detecting quakes happening under the sea … in hopes of saving lives if a Tsunami strikes.
Storm Warnings: Right on Track
A new, more precise warning system may save lives and property the next time a tornado, storm or flash flood hits your area.
High-Tech Patient Identification
A simple scan of your palm could make your next trip to the doctor’s office easier and eliminate deadly medical mistakes.
Helping Patients Walk Again
For stroke, multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy patients, this new device could help them get back on their feet faster.
3-D Dental Implants
A new procedure has patients in and out with a new smile in an hour.
Kids Creating Computer Games
Making moving magic is turning preteens on to computer science.