Economist and George Gund Professor of Economics and Business Administration at Harvard University Alvin Roth delivered a lecture where he proposed methods on how to handle the shortage of kidneys used for transplants on March 29.This lecture was part of the Lionel McKenzie lecture series, where graduate students choose a notable person in economics to speak each year. The series honors Wilson Professor Emeritus of Economics Lionel McKenzie.Roth devised a system for the optimization of finding suitable live kidney donor pairs based on an idea dealing with house allocations in college by Atila Abdulkadiroglu and Tayfun Snmez from Ko University. Most live donor transplants occur between family members, but there are many variables needed to be addressed for organ compatibility, including blood type and tissue type. Blood type compatibility is determined by A, B, AB or O. O blood type can donate to anyone, A can donate to A or AB, B can donate to B or AB and AB can donate to AB. In this situation, people with O blood type is at a disadvantage since they can only take O type. Tissue type is determined by six proteins, two of A, two of B and two of DR. Tissue type or HLA type is more complex than blood type due to antibodies. Roth cited such a case between husband and wife. Due to pregnancy, the wife may have developed antibodies to her husband’s proteins, making her husband an incompatible donor. When such a case arises, the couple can go on the waiting list or find another couple to trade compatible kidneys with. Top trading cycles works off incentive – people have goods others want and vice-versa. This method requires simultaneous transplants, otherwise incentives can be affected.Results were shown using a sample of 30 people. When no exchange was involved, only cadaver kidneys 54 percent of the people received kidneys, with paired exchanges 68 percent of people received kidneys and with top trading cycles 82 percent received kidneys.Roth, who specializes in game theory and experimental economics, displayed statistics to show the state of the current kidney transplant situation. According to Roth, 55,000 people are on the waiting list for cadaver kidneys in the United States.In 2002, Roth stated that 8,000 transplants of cadaver kidneys took place and that 3,400 patients died while on the waiting list. In addition, 6,000 transplants took place while the kidney donor was alive. Reichenberger can be reachedat preichen@campustimes.org.



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