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D. The Growing Need For Organ Donors

Narrator: This is Science Today. Over 50 thousand people in this country need kidney transplants, yet there's only about 10 thousand organs available each year. Dr. Flavio Vincenti of the Kidney Transplant Service at the University of California, San Francisco, says unfortunately these rates have been pretty steady.

Vincenti: There is a tremendous need for organs. For all organs. But clearly there is a tremendous deficit in the number of kidneys that are required for patients who have kidney disease that are on dialysis.

Narrator: Only a minority of kidney transplants use organs from a living donor. The rest are performed using organs from cadavers.

Vincenti: We still need an increase in the number of cadaver organs. That's why there's a great push and tremendous amount of research in so called xenograft to obtain organs from genetically engineered pigs, but that's going to be a few years away at this point.

Narrator: Right now, researchers are working to reduce the over immunosuppression and toxicity of transplant drugs while pushing for more donor awareness. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.