The Case for Kidney Exchanges

For thousands of people every year that suffer from End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), the relief of finding a living organ donor is not the end of their struggle. Often, their identified donor is not a biological match and as such, they are frequently forced to join waiting lists for deceased donor organs. Receiving an organ via a waiting list may take years or may not happen at all. In the meantime, these patients are forced to undergo gruelling dialysis treatments, with several of them succumbing to their illness during this period.

An effective solution to this problem is so-called “Kidney Exchange Programs” (KEPs). KEPs allow incompatible donor-recipient pairs to enter a larger pool of similarly mismatched couples from which new combinations of matching donors and recipients can be identified, enabling more life-saving transplantations. Stanford Economist and Nobel Prize winner Alvin E. Roth suggests that, in comparison to hemodialysis, savings on medical costs to the tune of $250,000 per patient are made possible within five years by these programs. Identifying quality matches from such wide donor-recipient pools is where PIRCHE’s strengths really stand out. The deep insights provided by PIRCHE’s epitope matching technology are particularly well suited to the inherent challenges of kidney exchanges. This improved depth of analysis also promotes equal access to transplantation for under-represented groups.

In Germany, legal restrictions have greatly limited the number of such transplantations that are feasible. Despite this, alongside one of Germany’s leading medical institutions, the PIRCHE technology recently played a critical role in the successful kidney exchange of two pairs of people from different German states. While we are extremely proud of this achievement, we recognize that this is only the first step in ensuring a future where this outcome is the rule rather than the exception, and this is a cause to which we have dedicated ourselves.

To learn more about PIRCHE and our goal of enabling more paired kidney donations in Germany and around the world, please send an email to, we’d be happy to connect with you.

PIRCHE. Match better.