Could Blood Test Predict Lung Transplant Rejection?

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Note: Check out our recent webinar on this topic: “Detecting Rejection Without Biopsies: Are We There Yet?”

A novel blood-based biomarker of lung transplant dysfunction in newly transplanted lungs could help identify patients at high risk for chronic rejection without a lung biopsy, researchers reported.

In what was characterized as a proof-of-concept study, researchers from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and several other institutions described how donor-derived cell-free DNA (%ddcfDNA) characterized “post-transplantation trends of lung-allograft injury that may lead to allograft failure and death.”

“Our results demonstrate that the average %ddcfDNA in the early post-transplant period correlated with the development of allograft failure and all-cause mortality,” wrote NHLBI researcher Hannah Valantine, MD, and colleagues, in the study online in EBioMedicine.

Valantine said the test solves the long-standing problem of detecting hidden signs of rejection and transplant failure in lung transplant recipients with no outward signs of organ rejection.

“We showed for the first time that donor-derived DNA is a predictive marker for chronic lung rejection and death, and could provide critical time-points to intervene, perhaps preventing these outcomes,” she said in a press statement. “Once rejection is detected early via this test, doctors would then have the option to increase the dosages of anti-rejection drugs, add new agents that reduce tissue inflammation, or take other measures to prevent or slow the progression.”

Lung transplant patients have the shortest median survival of any solid organ transplant recipients due to the high incidence of chronic rejection, also known as chronic lung allograft dysfunction (CLAD).

Several biomarkers predictive of lung allograft failure have been identified, but their clinical usefulness has been limited by the requirement for bronchoscopy to acquire a sample, poor specificity or sensitivity, or other reasons.

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About the Author:

Corey brings more than ten years of experience in corporate and non-profit fields, having worked in Communications for The Walt Disney Company and most recently, Public Relations for OurLegacy (formerly TransLife), the OPO serving Central Florida. He has also been an active board member of Donate Life Florida, serving as state team leader for the Driver License Outreach taskforce. Corey holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Information Sciences from The University of Alabama. In his spare time, he is an avid music and theater enthusiast, enjoys traveling, Crimson Tide Football and serving on the board for several local charities in the Orlando area.
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