LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A OneLegacy Foundation funded clinical trial at UCLA Health announced today its first two successful kidney transplants with the potential for no immunosuppressive drugs, a feat that will open the door for safer, more effective organ transplants for the more than 107,000 Americans in need. The transplants were made possible by a $2 million research grant from the OneLegacy Foundation and demonstrates the importance of cross-collaboration between Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs), transplant surgeons and hospitals.
OneLegacy is Southern California’s federally-designated OPO, facilitating donation between hundreds of hospitals and transplant centers, including UCLA, saving more than a thousand lives each year. OneLegacy’s foundation operates the organization’s public education, community outreach, and scientific and research and development efforts.
“OneLegacy is proud to collaborate with UCLA to advance the science of donation and transplantation,” says Thomas Mone, CEO of OneLegacy. “Our life-saving mission goes beyond connecting donors to patients in need. OneLegacy is also educating our community on the value of donation to donor families and waiting recipients and investing in science that will increase transplantation, making it safer and more effective.”
Traditional transplants see the new organ as an invader and signal an attack, but through UCLA Health’s clinical trial, surgeons transplant the organ, and then a few days later, an infusion of the donor’s stem cells, to prime the recipient to accept the new organ as its own, freeing transplant patients from a lifetime of harsh immunosuppressive drugs.
“This is the Holy Grail of transplant surgery, and it is just the beginning of our journey to help more patients,” says UCLA Health renal transplant surgeon Jeffrey L. Veale, MD. “Thanks to the OneLegacy Foundation’s support, we are going to look to expand this science to include not only well-matched sibling donors, but also non-siblings, and eventually deceased donors.”
In December 2019 Tom Macias found out he was the perfect match for his brother battling kidney disease and decided to give Andy the gift of life. Dr. Veale administered Andy’s transplant in March and Andy is already off all but one immunosuppressive drugs.
Andy was the first recipient to receive both a kidney and stem cell transplantation in Southern California and his success paints a promising picture for the future of this science. Deceased donors account for more than 77% of the 22,800 kidney transplants performed in the United States in 2020, hundreds of those facilitated by OneLegacy. An expansion into transplanting deceased donor organs and stem cells will be groundbreaking for the donation community. In collaboration with OneLegacy, UCLA Health has already applied for a patent that would allow them to do just this and anticipate employing this new process within the coming year.
To learn more about becoming an organ donor visit DonateLifeCalifornia.org/OneLegacy.
OneLegacy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives through organ, eye and tissue donation in seven counties in Southern California: Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Santa Barbara and Kern. It serves more than 200 hospitals, 10 transplant centers, a diverse population of 20 million donors and families across the region and waiting recipients across the country. For more information, visit OneLegacy.org.