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Big Data on Organ Transplant Market

With more than 120,000 people in need of organ transplants and a shortage of donors, economists, doctors and mathematicians are using data to save lives. On a very basic level, the organ transplant process can be separated into two categories: organs taken from living donors and organs harvested from deceased donors. From living donors, doctors can take one of a person's two kidneys, as well as part of his or her liver. From a deceased donor, doctors are able to extract a cadaver's kidneys, liver, heart, lungs, pancreas, intestines and thymus. Of the organs donated in 2013, roughly 80% came from deceased donors, according to UNOS. While it's preferable to receive a kidney from a living donor, the donors and candidates are incompatible in approximately one-third of potential kidney transplants because of mismatched blood or tissue types. In the case of incompatibility, a candidate is placed on what's commonly referred to by the public as a "waiting list".  UNOS receives information from both the candidate and the deceased donor to establish compatibility such as blood type, body size and thoracic organs, like the heart and lungs, need to be transplanted into a similarly-sized recipient and geography as it seeks to match candidates locally, regionally and then nationally. With that data, UNOS' algorithm rules out the incompatible. It then ranks the remainder based on urgency and geography. For example, a liver made available in Ohio would theoretically go to the closest compatible candidate with the highest MELD score. 

In 2010, UNOS launched its Kidney Paired Donation Program that used Sandholm and his team's algorithm. So far, the program has matches have resulted in 97 transplants, with more than a dozen scheduled in the coming months. To read in detail visit: http://mashable.com/2014/07/23/big-data-organ-transplants/

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