CBS 42 Community sat down with Vineeta Kumar, MD, to talk about the questions our viewers have about kidney transplants and UAB. Dr. Kumar is a transplant nephrologist and the medical director of the UAB Incompatible Kidney Transplant Program.
CBS 42 Community: Why choose UAB Medicine?
Dr. Kumar: UAB Medicine’s kidney transplant program is the most comprehensive in the Southeast. We are often able to accept and help patients who have been turned down by other transplant centers, as we have a level of expertise that allows us to combine multiple technologies and “push the envelope” to restore someone’s quality of life and also save a life. This attitude is reflected in our Incompatible Kidney Transplant Program, by which a donor kidney often can be transplanted into a patient despite the donor and recipient having different blood or tissue types. UAB Medicine is a leader in the Southeast in this technique, known as desensitization, and it can provide a much-needed option for certain patients – especially those with rare blood types.
This is further boosted by our very successful UAB Kidney Paired Donation Program, which combines high-tech medicine and human kindness by working with a database of willing living kidney donors and recipients who do not match each other but are willing to exchange donors who do match. Paired kidney donations now account for more than 20 percent of the living donor kidney transplants at UAB Medicine, and they serve as yet another potentially lifesaving option for our patients.
As an academic medical center, UAB Medicine has long served as a major research hub, and our patients benefit from our proven track record of bringing discoveries from the bench to the bedside. Our kidney transplant program is supported by multiple research studies funded by the National Institutes of Health and private industry. UAB Medicine researchers and surgeons played a significant role in developing a drug called CellCept, which today is used by nearly every transplant center in the world to help prevent organ rejection.
CBS 42 Community: How is UAB Medicine helping address kidney shortages?
Dr. Kumar: UAB Medicine is pioneering new ways to increase the number of donor kidneys available to our patients, so they may minimize their time on dialysis and the organ waiting list. One solution to the shortage of deceased-donor kidneys is to increase living kidney donation, by which a living person donates one of his or her kidneys to someone whose kidneys have failed. UAB Medicine has the most active living donor kidney transplant program in the
Southeast, and it is supported by our innovative Living Donor Navigator Program, which encourages patients to choose a “living donor champion” to serve as their advocate in searching for a living donor. Our navigators train these champions to work on behalf of the patient to locate a living donor, but the navigators also help donors more easily navigate the process.
CBS 42 Community: To learn more about UAB Medicine’s Comprehensive Transplant Institute, and to find out how you can share the gift of life by becoming an organ donor, please visit www.uabmedicine.org/transplant50.
This story, and all our coverage of National Donate Life Month on CBS42.com, is sponsored by UAB Medicine