New program will locate donors for complicated kidney transplant patients

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A new medical unit at a central Israel hospital will help find kidney donors for transplant patients who have had a hard time finding a match.

Kidney transplant patients who suffer from high levels of antibodies due to previous transplants or blood donations can go for many years without finding a suitable donor. A new and advanced software program can be used to cross-check through advanced information systems from all hospitals in Israel and around the world.

The program, developed by Professor Itai Ashlagi of Harvard University,  was donated to the Matnat Chaim, or Gift of Life organization and will be operated out of Beilinson Hospital’s Department of Transplantation.

It was given to the organization by the Danielle Sonnenfeld Foundation. Sonnenfeld, who had volunteered at Beilinson’s sister hospital, Schneider Children’s Medical Center for Israel in Petah Tikva. was killed at the age of 20 in a car accident in 2015. The new unit will be named after her, Matnat Danielle, or Danielle’s Gift.

Since the program went on-line at Beilinson, the hospital has provided successful transplants to 39 patients who had difficulty finding donors.