Clinical trial tests the effect of giving organ recipients antiviral therapy after being transplanted with kidneys that otherwise go unused
EMBARGOED: PHILADELPHIA — Patients who need a kidney transplant may have new hope, through an innovative Penn Medicine clinical trial using kidneys from deceased donors who had the Hepatitis C virus (HCV). The first study participant received a kidney transplant in July 2016, and after being treated with a full regimen of Zepatier – a recently-approved oral medication prescribed to eradicate HCV – her doctors announced today that there is no evidence of the virus in her blood. Irma Hendricks of East Stroudsburg, PA, faced upwards of five years on the transplant waiting list with dialysis three days a week for many hours, before enrolling and receiving a kidney transplant as part of this trial. The research team says if the new approach works, for patients who do not have HCV, there is the potential to provide a chance at a lifesaving kidney transplant for hundreds more patients each year.
The clinical trial, known as THINKER, led by David S. Goldberg, MD, MSCE, and Peter Reese, MD, MSCE, both assistant professors of Medicine and Epidemiology at Penn, aims to determine the safety and efficacy of transplanting kidneys from Hepatitis C-positive donors into patients currently on the kidney transplant waitlist who do not have the Hepatitis C virus.