A clinical trial sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has been initiated at various sites across the US to study kidney transplants between HIV patients.
The HOPE in Action multicentre kidney study aims to assess possible transplant-related and HIV-related complications in recipients after surgery.
The HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act passed in 2013 permits transplantation of organs from donors with HIV into qualified recipients suffering from end-stage organ failure and HIV.
HIV patients are at a higher risk of end-stage liver and kidney disease due to damage caused by the virus, its co-infections, and associated comorbidities such as hepatitis B and C, hypertension and diabetes mellitus. Some antiretroviral drugs used in HIV treatment also cause toxicity.
The HOPE study will involve 160 kidney transplants, of which 80 will be kidneys from deceased donors who had HIV, and the control group will be deceased donors without HIV.
During the trial, recipients will be monitored for organ failure or rejection, the failure of previously effective HIV medications, disease-related complications, psychological and social responses, and the potential development of HIV superinfection.
Principal investigator Christine Durand said: “If proven safe and effective in our study, kidney transplants between people with HIV may result in people living with HIV receiving donated organs sooner and the overall organ transplant waiting list shrinking, to the benefit of everyone who needs a kidney transplant, regardless of HIV status.”
The organisation intends to support another similar trial, called the HOPE in Action Multicenter Liver Study, which will investigate the safety and efficacy of liver transplantation between HIV patients.