Since 1996, The Pediatric Nephrology and Transplantation Program has been
improving the quality of life for New Jersey’s youngest patients
with renal disease, renal dysfunction and hypertension.
Started as the first complete pediatric nephrology service in the state,
it has established a reputation of technical excellence, clinical research
and advocacy for the growing number of families who are choosing the transplant
alternative for their children.
“When a child’s kidneys are not working, the whole body’s
physiology changes,” explains Isabel Roberti, M.D., Director of
Pediatric Nephrology and Transplantation. “The digestive system
doesn’t function normally, brain development and bone growth are
impaired, even taste sensation is affected. The kidney performs many functions,
but dialysis can only correct a few of them.” It requires an interdisciplinary
team of pediatric specialists to coordinate the care of children with
renal disease, and, for many of the tiniest patients, transplant is the
only good option.
Since 1996, The Pediatric Nephrology and Transplantation Program has performed
more than 152 kidney transplants in patients between 10 months and 19
years of age with excellent results. With nearly three quarters of their
patients receiving kidneys through living donation – mostly from
their parents – the program consistently exceeds national averages
for both short-term and long-term graft survival rates and acute rejection rates.
Over the years, the Program’s firm commitment to transplantation
has been evident through its extensive involvement with clinical research
trials for it young kidney recipients who face different challenges than
adult kidney recipients in regards to drug therapies and physical and
cognitive growth and development.
“There have been tremendous advances in our ability to support kidney
failure with various forms of dialysis, medication, diet and replacement
of the failed kidneys through transplantation,” explains Dr. Roberti.
“Due to recent advances in the understanding of the immune system
and the development of better drugs, the success rate for kidney transplantation
is very high.”
The Program continues to be one of only a few in the country to participate
in clinical drug trials that are improving the odds for young transplant
recipients, including multiple multicentric studies in the fields of hypertension,
Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) and FSGS. The results of these studies
and the experience of this program have been presented internationally
at professional meetings and published in medical journals.
Dr. Roberti and the entire transplant team work closely with parents and
families throughout the transplant process. “It is not just medical
expertise and technology that create success stories in pediatric renal
transplantation,” stresses Dr. Roberti. “These children survive
because of the love, strength and dedication of their families.”