Join host Halena Gazelka, M.D., pain medicine specialist and medical director for Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, on the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast. From complex or serious conditions like cancer and heart disease to the latest news on research and wellness, Dr. Gazelka asks the questions and gets easy-to-understand answers from Mayo Clinic experts.

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Mar 25, 2019

Sensitized Transplant Patients

By Margaret Shepard, @Margaret_Marie


The body’s immune system helps protect us from infection and has the ability to recognize and destroy foreign cells like cancer cells. Now, when the blood meets a foreign cell, it can produce most of the time an antibody – an antibody to fight the invader. Now, while that’s a good thing in most cases, for organ transplant patients, that can be a problem.

About 30 percent of transplant patients are sensitized, meaning that they have harmful antibodies which will attack foreign tissue such as that transplanted organ from a donor. But all is not lost for these patients. Dr. Andrew Bentall, a Mayo Clinic nephrologist, explains what can be done to help sensitized transplant patients who can be difficult to match with organ donors.

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