Mayo Clinic orthopedic surgeon Tom Shives, M.D. and cohost Tracy McCray educate and enlighten audiences every week on the latest news as well as information about exercise, nutrition, prevention and your health. Tune in weekly as hosts and experts from Mayo Clinic and the Mayo Clinic Health System bring you health updates in an easy-to-understand, friendly approach.

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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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