Lungs from donors who had hepatitis C have been successfully transplanted into 10 patients at Toronto General Hospital (TG).
All patients have recovered from their transplant surgery. Eight of them have already tested negative for the virus and the last two patients have recently started taking the drug regimen.
The transplants are part of a clinical trial that is the first to assess the safety of transplanting hepatitis positive organs to non-infected patients using the ex vivo technology. Developed at TG in 2008, the Toronto Ex Vivo Lung Perfusion System (EVLP) allows doctors to assess organs outside of the body and predict how well they will do before transplantation.
The use of hepatitis C infected organs to help deal with the shortage in organ donors will be discussed by experts at the Global Hepatitis Summit, which starts today in Toronto.
“With the opioids crisis and persistent high rates of intravenous drug use, we have a great number of potential lung donors who are hepatitis C positive – many of whom didn’t even know they were sick when they were alive,” says Dr. Marcelo Cypel, thoracic surgeon at TG, UHN, scientist at Toronto General Hospital Research Institute (TGRI) and principal investigator in the study.
“The current protocol is to not use these organs, but we started to question if that still made sense in an era when direct anti-viral agents (DAAs) can cure hepatitis C,” he says.Share