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Test could warn of problems for kidney transplant recipients

Assay for biomarker could reduce need for biopsies

12:39pm, September 3, 2013

A simple test might reveal whether a kidney transplant recipient is at imminent risk of organ rejection. A study finds that the test, which checks urine levels of an immune protein, might lessen the need for kidney biopsies in some patients and pinpoint others who might safely reduce their dose of immune-suppressing drugs.

Increases in urine levels of the immune protein, called CXCL9, often show up in patients a month before an episode of organ rejection, researchers report August 22 in the American Journal of Transplantation. “That could be pretty useful,” says Kim Solez, a pathologist at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, who has worked on standards for assessing biopsy data from transplant recipients. In a best-case scenario, screening for CXCL9 and other biomarkers would do no harm and might benefit many patients. “But it depends on how reliable it is,”

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