10 patients safely receive hepatitis C-infected lungs in new clinical trial
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-Researchers behind a bold experiment to use hepatitis C-infected lungs for transplant say such organs could help address a critical shortage of donors and make “some good come out” of the increasing number of opioid-related deaths.
-10 transplants were performed at Toronto General Hospital between October and May as part of a study to assess the safety of transplanting hepatitis-positive organs to non-infected patients.
-about 20 per cent of potential organ donors – and up to 50 per cent in areas hardest hit by the opioid epidemic – carry the hepatitis C virus.
-“We would estimate an increase of about 30 per cent of our donor pool….these are otherwise very good organs,” said Dr. Marcelo Cypel, a thoracic surgeon at TGH and principal investigator on the study.
-As of 2016, there were more than 240 patients waiting for a lung transplant in Canada and it’s estimated that 20 per cent of patients die while waiting for lungs to become available.
-Researchers also plan to study the possibility of using hepatitis C-infected hearts and kidneys, using the same approach.