Kidney treatment could save thousands

November 11, 2008 8:13:14 AM PST
There's a little known surgical procedure, available at Stanford Medical Center that could mean the difference between life and death for thousands of kidney patients. And one woman who saw it work a miracle for her daughter - is now making it her life's work to let the world know about it.Joan Lando and daughter Soraya Kohanzadeh are on a crusade. They want the world to know about the treatment that enabled one of mom's kidneys to be transplanted to Soraya, whose kidneys had failed. Her life was failing too.

"After dialysis I would go home and sleep on the couch, and on the days I didn't have dialysis, I was so tired that the idea of teaching, even substitute teaching, wasn't possible," said Kohanzadeh.

Mom was not a match, Soraya produced too many antibodies.

"We were told it was hopeless that she would die on dialysis. They felt sorry for her, she was only 28," said Lando.

A nurse told them about something new, intravenous immuno-globulin, or IVIG.

It's was co-developed by Doctor Dolly Tyan, who now is with the Stanford School of Medicine, and directs the HLA-Immunogenetics and disease profiling lab. During dialysis treatments, patients are given blood containing a large mix of immunoglobulins, or antibodies, which attack each other, and actually bring down the number of organ rejecting antibodies.

"Therefore instead of being incompatible with 98 percent of the population, maybe they were incompatible with 40 percent," said Dr. Tyan.

Joan and Saraya had their work done at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

"I was sitting in my hotel room, the phone call said we can do it we're ready to schedule it," said Kohanzadeh.

"What was your reaction?" asked ABC7's Terry McSweeney.

"I think I started crying," said Kohanzadeh.

Dr. Tyan says of the 70,000 people in the U.S. waiting for a kidney donor, perhaps 20,000 could be crying those same tears of joy, but they aren't, partly because only five medical centers are trained to perform this therapy.

Joan says many doctors just don't know about IVIG.

"What we're told is the doctors are very busy, they're not reading the medical journals, her doctors said they'd never heard of it," said Dr. Tyan.

Dr Tyan hopes Joan's campaign leads to patients asking questions of their physicians.

"Okay, please tell me about my antibody profile. Do I have a lot or a little? Am I eligible for this kind of therapy?" said Dr. Tyan.

"I go to the gym five days a week," said Kohanzadeh.

Doctors say IVIG is covered by Medicare.

For more information please click on the following links:

  • http://www.getakidneytransplant.org/
  • http://www.reindeermotel.com/
  • http://bloodcenter.stanford.edu/

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