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Bid to speed transplants with hepatitis C-infected kidneys

27 October 2016, 13:46

Washington — Some patients facing a years-long wait for a kidney transplant are jumping ahead in line thanks to a startling experiment: They're agreeing to an organ almost sure to infect them with hepatitis C.

Knowingly transmitting a dangerous virus may sound drastic but two leading transplant centers are betting the strategy will save lives — if new medications that promise to cure hepatitis C allow use of organs that today go to waste.

Pilot studies are under way at the University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins University to test transplanting kidneys from deceased donors with hepatitis C into recipients who don't already have that virus. If the research eventually pans out, hundreds more kidneys — and maybe some hearts and lungs, too — could be transplanted every year.

- AP

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