U of M research could help doctors predict kidney transplant rejection

By CBC News
Published on January 14, 2017

Clinical trial to study protein in urine as early warning sign for rejection, may lead to earlier treatment

A protein in urine may hold the key to helping doctors predict when a kidney will be rejected after a transplant.

Currently, around 12 to 15 per cent of patients experience kidney rejection in the first year after a transplant. Ho has been researching a protein found in urine that detects rejection much earlier than the current routine tests.

“We are hoping to prove that by using this test that we can detect rejection earlier and treat it earlier, and improve their outcomes at 12 months and hopefully over the long term,” Ho said.

Following a kidney transplant, patients’ urine will be tested for the CXCL10 protein. If it shows up there will be biopsy, and if that shows signs of rejection, the patient will receive treatment.

A new clinical trial led by researchers at the University of Manitoba could change how kidney transplant patients are monitored, and potentially increase the longevity of the transplant.

“Those that lose their kidney transplants and they have to go back to dialysis, they actually have up to a three-fold higher risk of dying then if the transplants kept working,” said Julie Ho, the principal researcher and a transplant physician.

The five-year trials are expected to start in the coming weeks and have received a $2.6-million grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

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