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UCSD Marks 40th Anniversary of County's First Kidney Transplant

U-C-S-D Medical Center is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the first kidney transplant in San Diego County. Doctors say the science of kidney transplants has greatly improved in recent years. KPBS

UCSD Marks 40th Anniversary of County's First Kidney Transplant

U-C-S-D Medical Center is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the first kidney transplant in San Diego County. Doctors say the science of kidney transplants has greatly improved in recent years. KPBS Reporter Kenny Goldberg has more.

Dr. David Ward is co-director of UCSD's kidney transplant program. He says 40 years ago, physicians had very few medications to work with. Ward says as a result, the success rate for a kidney transplant was only about 55 percent.

Dr. David Ward: We now have a whole range of medications, we know a whole lot more, and the success rates are in the 90 plus percent, and even at 15 years we've got close to half the patients still with successful treatments.

However, Ward says there are never enough kidney donors available to meet demand.

In California, nearly 16,000 people are on a waiting list for a kidney transplant.

Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.