Continuing Our Progress on Transplants for All

April 14, 2022, 10:08am EDT

At NKF, we are devoted to advocating for our kidney patient community and amplifying health equity to ensure that everyone has a fair chance at transplantation. As part of this ongoing effort, we responded in January to two proposals released by the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) during the public comment period.

The first proposal sought to eliminate race from algorithms used to calculate kidney function (eGFR), which NKF firmly supported. The race-based coefficient delayed access to the transplant waitlist for many Black patients. Racism has no place in medicine. We believe in health equity for everyone, and access to kidney health and transplantation is a human right that NKF will always stand up for.

The second proposal sought to establish minimum criteria for kidney procurement biopsies. Once a kidney is recovered from an organ donor, the organ procurement team may ask a pathologist to perform a kidney procurement biopsy to see how well the kidney functions.

While that may sound reasonable initially, it can negatively impact the utilization of the recovered kidney. Some studies indicate that kidney procurement biopsies contribute to higher kidney discard rates, which NKF is committed to mitigating. We do not believe kidney procurement biopsies are intrinsically counterproductive. We do believe the OPTN should invest time in research and collaboration with physicians who study procurement biopsies before codifying a standardized practice into policy.

Amplifying the patient voice

Our dedicated patient advocates play an essential role in how we respond to public comments from government entities. We strive to highlight patient voices every chance we get to inform official agencies of how proposed policies will impact the people in our kidney patient communities. We also rely on our medical and clinical professional partners who also assist us in curating our public comment responses. It truly takes a village to provide kidney patient advocacy, and we are incredibly grateful for each person that remains committed to helping NKF in this mission.

Please visit our regulatory advocacy page to read our public comment regarding these two OPTN proposals and follow NKF Advocacy on Twitter to get the latest updates on how we’re working to advance the goal of transplants for all.

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