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Cancer Genetics

Genetic Predisposition and Organ Transplants

07/10/2008

Question:

Person A takes a genetic predisposition test and receives a positive result for one of the relatively rare mutations which leads to polycystic kidney disease. Both of his parents have succumbed to this disease, but A has no symptoms yet to suggest he`s suffering from it.

Can person A safely donate his kidneys to person B, who has no such genetic predisposition but requires a kidney transplant in order to get off dialysis and potentially live to a normal age?

Answer:

Patient A cannot determine if the disease (polycystic kidneys) is present by the absence of symptoms. Patient A needs to have a BP check, a urine analysis, some kidney function tests and a renal imaging study (such as a renal ultrasound).

If all these tests are normal Patient A can be evaluated by a transplant center to see if he or she qualifies as a donor.

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Response by:

Thomas   Zipp, MD Thomas Zipp, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University