Lifewatch: Kidney Transplants

WILMINGTON -- Right now, 70 thousand Americans are waiting for a kidney transplant, but some will never get a transplant so dialysis is necessary.

A new medical breakthrough may have patients off dialysis for good.

Those whose antibodies are too high are not eligible for a transplant because the risk of rejection is almost unavoidable.  Now, doctors are trying to block those antibodies.

Lakeisha Hall was told she was losing her kidneys at the age of 15.  Now, at 27 years old, Lakeisha's life is finally coming together.

Her time as a teenager was spent on dialysis.

"At first it was hard. I didn't like it. I hated going on dialysis," said Hall.

Her entire family is fighting the disease with Hall.  Her sister, brother, and mother have all donated a kidney to Lakeisha.

But, Lakeisha, like many others waiting for kidney transplant, has high levels of anit-donor antibodies caused by too many transfusions.

Now, Intravenous Immunoglobulin Therapy (IVIG) is giving patients new hope.

During two, four hour dialysis treatments, patients are given blood containing a mix of immunoglobulins, which block harmful antibodies from injuring a donated kidney.

IVIG allowed Lakeisha to go ahead with her kidney transplant.  She recently finished her treatment and was able to go home.  She said she is doing well and is even back at work.

Reported by Kristy Ondo