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Breakthrough In Predicting Kidney Transplant Rejection

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One of the major challenges faced by patients who have had a kidney transplant is rejection of the kidney. Immunosuppressive drugs are prescribed to prevent the body from rejecting a transplanted organ. Increase in temperature, blood pressure, flu-like symptoms, significant decrease in urine output and elevated creatinine are some of the signs of possible kidney transplant rejection.

Rejection can happen as early as 1 week after transplant or after 3 months. Now here's breakthrough development in the field of kidney transplantation.

Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College have developed a non-invasive test that can not only diagnose but also predict rejection of transplanted kidneys weeks to months before they show symptoms.

Known as three-gene signature, the test measures just three genetic molecules in a urine sample namely the CD3e mRNA, IP-10 mRNA, and 18S rRNA. An increased expression of the three mRNAs can determine if an organ will be, or is being, rejected, according to the researchers.

The urine biomarker test is developed based on results from a study, which involved 4,300 urine specimens from 485 kidney-graft recipients from day 3 through month 12 after transplantation. The levels of messenger RNA (mRNA) in the urine samples were measured and correlated with the rejection status using logistic regression.

Manikkam Suthanthiran, lead author of the study, said, "It looks to us that we can actually anticipate rejection of a kidney several weeks before rejection begins to damage the transplant. The test may also help physicians fine-tune the amount of powerful immunosuppressive drugs that organ transplant patients must take for the rest of their lives".

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