European Network for Collaboration on Kidney Exchange Programmes
About one per thousand European citizens suffers from end stage renal disease. Living donor kidney transplantation is often the most effective treatment and the alternative of deceased donor kidney transplantation is severely limited by availability. As approximately 40% of living donors are incompatible with their specified recipient, several European countries have independently developed kidney exchange programmes (KEPs).
KEPs aim to match donors optimally to recipients for organ exchange within the population of recipient-donor pairs. Recent research shows that KEPs may greatly improve survival probabilities and quality of life, especially for recipients that are difficult to match. These recipients are disadvantaged disproportionally by the small scale of many national (or local) KEPs in Europe.
KEPs vary regarding the solutions provided for the problems in:
- the policy domain (prioritisation, equity, and accessibility);
- the clinical domain (clinical practice and evidence);
- the optimisation domain (methods to solve the hard dynamic multi-criteria matching problems which take clinical evidence and health policy into account).
Knowledge sharing among European KEPs, exchange of best practices, and practical collaboration are very scarce.
The COST Action ENCKEP brings together policy makers, clinicians and optimisation experts in Europe to:
- exchange best practices and scientific state of the art with respect to national KEPs;
- develop a jointly-used, common framework for data and optimisation;
- develop and test a prototype for transnational KEPs;
- stimulate European policy dialogue. ENCKEP is expected to have substantial impact on the medical / socioeconomic, technological as well as scientific domains.