Medical teams in the US have carried out a series of kidney transplants using organs that had previously contained cancerous growths.
Surgeons from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore transplanted five kidneys after removing benign and malignant cancerous growths from them before implantation.
As well as removing the growths, a portion of the surrounding tissue was removed for analysis, to reassure surgeons that cancerous cells had not spread further into the tissue.
In normal circumstances, organs with signs of cancerous tissue would be deemed unsuitable for transplant. However, following the removal of the growths, the implanted organs proved successful, with four in five receivers still alive at the time of their last health check. The fifth patient died from an unrelated accident one year after the transplant.
One patient originally rejected their new kidney, but was given appropriate drugs soon afterwards.
The results, published in the journal of the British Association of Urological Surgeons, revealed that none of the patients showed any evidence of recurring tumours following the groundbreaking procedure.
Dr Michael Phelan, co-author of the study, said: “‘The global increase in patients with end-stage renal disease highlights the importance of identifying novel means to increase the donor pool.”