In December 2011 I underwent a live donor kidney transplant, the kidney having been donated by my son, Matt.
A few weeks before the transplant I was asked if I would be prepared to join the Remind trial. The lead trial nurse explained (and gave me detailed fact sheets to take away) that, if I agreed, I would be put forward, but could either be in the control group, who continue with the standard drugs, or I would be given a single dose of the drug Rituximab, 2 to 4 weeks before the transplant.
Rituximab acts by removing the B cells, which are involved in transplant rejection. It is already used in high-risk transplants and the trial was to establish its benefits in low-risk transplants, with the hope that the current dosage of the other anti-rejection drugs normally required could be reduced. I was selected, at random, to receive the drug. Before I could receive the drug I had to undergo some checks and a blood test, all of which were fine.
Having had the single infusion of Rituximab, and following the transplant, all that was required were some additional blood samples, and the occasional general check-up, during the first 12 months. The blood required was taken as part of my routine blood tests, and the check-ups were always arranged for when I would be at clinic, so there was no need for extra visits.
Throughout the process I was given tremendous care and support by the lead trial nurse, Jay, and everything was arranged for when it best suited me. I was never put under any pressure to take part or continue and everything was carefully explained to me. My experience has been totally positive and, if offered the opportunity, I would really encourage you to consider taking part in a trial. After all, these trials are essential to a higher standard of medical care in the future.