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Contact: Christine Payton August 6, 2009
(337) 482-6397, payton@louisiana.edu
University of Louisiana at Lafayette graduate Dr. J. Keith Melancon was recently featured on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams for a 14-patient kidney exchange in Washington D.C., last month.

It was the largest kidney exchange of its kind to take place in one city, according to a spokesperson at Georgetown University Hospital, where Melancon is director of Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Surgery.

Melancon, a 1982 UL Lafayette graduate, was on a team that pioneered the use of plasmapheresis to address kidney donor compatibility. All seven of the kidney recipients in July received the procedure, which lowers a person’s antibodies to accept another person’s organ. The recipients all had high levels of antibodies that made a traditional donor match virtually impossible, according to a hospital press release.

“ There are 6,000 people on dialysis in the D.C. area on a given day. We do about 200-250 kidney transplants a year at all hospitals in this city. Using plasmapheresis, we hope to double that number of kidney transplants,” Melancon stated in the release.

On July 16, 17, 20 and 21, the organs were recovered and/or transplanted at the Georgetown University Hospital and Washington Hospital Center.

“ When we have people willing to be donors, we need to try and make a transplant happen,” Melancon said.

The NBC Nightly News report can be viewed here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032619/vp/32290757#32290757

Melancon was also featured in a past edition of UL Lafayette’s magazine LaLouisiane in Spring 2007 for his transplantation work. That profile can be viewed here: http://www.louisiana.edu/Advancement/PRNS/lala/2007-SPRG/melancon.pdf


Document last revised Thursday, August 6, 2009 1:09 PM

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