Highly Sensitized Kidney Transplants

Cedars-Sinai's Comprehensive Transplant Center is a national leader in highly sensitized transplants. Our researchers were the first to use a specialized therapy that allows highly sensitized patients to receive lifesaving kidney transplants.

Today, nearly half our patients are highly sensitized. They come to us knowing that we can provide them with a successful transplant. Our team has the expertise necessary to get highly sensitized patients off dialysis and into surgery as quickly as possible.

Why Are Some People Highly Sensitized?

A pregnant person

People who have a highly sensitized immune system will reject a kidney transplant—even if the organ is a perfect match. That's because their bodies produce antibodies.

  • One-third of people currently waiting for kidney transplants are highly HLA-sensitized. People can become highly sensitized after being exposed to foreign tissue. This exposure can occur in several ways:
  • Pregnancy (carrying a child exposes a woman to foreign tissue)
  • Previous organ transplant
  • Blood transfusion

Our Approach to Highly Sensitized Transplants

Without access to specialized treatment, highly sensitized patients often have no choice but to spend their lives on dialysis. At Cedars-Sinai, we're determined to make successful kidney transplant an option for everyone. 

Highly sensitized patients who come to our Kidney Transplant Program for help can expect:

An Expert Team

Stanley C. Jordan, MD and his team invented the therapy that makes highly sensitized transplants possible. The kidney transplant specialists at our center are nationally recognized experts at treating these medically complex cases.

Treatment for Complex Cases

About 40% of the more than 200 kidney transplants we do each year involve highly sensitized patients. We have the expertise to successfully treat patients turned away by other centers.

Access to Clinical Trials

As part of our ongoing commitment to innovative desensitization therapies, our transplant team participates in many clinical trials. Our patients have access to potentially lifesaving treatments not available at other transplant centers. Find out more about our current clinical trials.

Innovative Desensitization Therapies

Our doctors were the first to use IVIG therapy to reduce sensitivity in transplant patients. The treatment lowers the level of antibodies and blocks their ability to attack a transplanted organ. We also pioneered an innovative protocol that combines IVIG therapy with the drug Rituxan. Using this technique, we are able to successfully desensitize about 97% of our highly sensitized patients.

Leading-Edge Research

The Kidney Transplant team has been actively researching desensitization therapies since the 1990s. Their most recent discovery led to a new therapy, called IdeS, that is currently undergoing approval by the Food and Drug Administration. This immunoglobin-degrading enzyme works almost immediately to desensitize the immune system. As a result, highly sensitized patients are ready for transplant surgery right away. Read more about our groundbreaking research.

Have Questions or Need Help?

To make an appointment or refer a patient, call us or send a message to the Kidney and Pancreas Transplant care team. You can also have us call you back at your convenience.

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