Transplanting Hepatitis C Kidneys Into Negative KidnEy Recipients

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Transplanting Hepatitis C Kidneys Into Negative KidnEy Recipients

Kidney transplant extends life, improves quality of life, and reduces healthcare costs. Unfortunately, there are not enough donated kidneys, so many people who need a transplant spend years on the waiting list. Kidneys from organ donors who have hepatitis C virus (HCV) are often thrown away, but these kidneys work well, and hepatitis C can be cured. The goal of the THINKER-NEXT study is to make more kidneys available for transplant. THINKER-NEXT is a study that will provide HCV infected kidneys to people on the kidney transplant waiting list who do not have hepatitis C. We will then cure the HCV infection with an antiviral drug provided by Gilead free of charge

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK) is funding this study to address key scientific questions related to transplants with respect to Hepatitis C.

Read on to learn more about hepatitis C virus, the study procedures, and to see if you may qualify for the study.

Potential Benefits Of Being In This Study

Provide patients with a kidney transplant sooner.

Decrease time waiting for a kidney transplant.

Get a transplant from a younger donor.

Improve quality-of-life for patients with end-stage kidney disease.

Study drug will be provided free of charge.

What does the study involve?

  • Using kidneys from donors with hepatitis C that are expected to work well
  • Treating hepatitis C after kidney transplant with medication (1 pill a day for 3 months)

Hepatitis C Virus (HCV)

What is hepatitis C?

  • Hepatitis C is a virus that affects the liver
  • HCV is spread by blood-to-blood contact
  • HCV can be cured with medication at least 90% of the time (1 pill a day for 3 months)
  • HCV infection can be a short-term (acute) or long-term (chronic) disease
  • HCV infection usually doesn’t cause symptoms until liver fails

What is short-term hepatitis C like?

  • Can have no symptoms or feel like the flu
  • Can lead to inflammation of the liver
  • Rarely leads to liver damage

What is long-term hepatitis C like?

  • Can scar the liver if left untreated for many years
  • Severe scarring (cirrhosis) can lead to liver failure and liver cancer


How do you treat hepatitis C?

  • The medication for HCV is Epclusa (Sofosbuvir + Velpatasvir), and in the event second-line medication is needed then you will receive Vosevi (Sofosbuvir + Velpatasvir + Voxilaprevir)
  • Treatment is 1 pill a day for 3 months
  • Treatment is free (provided by Gilead)
  • This treatment cures more than 98 out of every 100 patients
  • Side effects are mild (headache, stomach-ache, feeling tired)
  • It is not known how well the drug will work in patients who get hepatitis C through a kidney transplant