Several genes that hold the key to determining the future outcome of a kidney transplant have been identified by a team of Australian and American researchers. This genetic discovery could improve the long-term success of kidney transplants.
The long-term organ survival in kidney transplantation patients has not improved. Researchers have developed a genetic test that could detect patients at high risk of organ rejection.
‘Thirteen genes that can predict the development of kidney fibrosis within three months of transplantation have been identified.’
In a collaborative study, researchers at The Westmead Institute for Medical Research identified a set of 13 genes that can predict the development of kidney fibrosis. Some patients who undergo kidney transplant are likely to develop kidney fibrosis which is the major cause of transplantation failure. The condition usually develops within three months of transplantation.
Currently, diagnostic techniques are used to identify kidney dysfunction. But by this time the irreversible damage from fibrosis can develop.
"By identifying high-risk patients early, new treatments can be introduced before any organ damage occurs," says lead author Professor Phillip O'Connell.
Every year, kidney-related diseases claim more lives than breast cancer, prostate cancer, and road traffic accidents in Australia. In 2015, there were more than 900 kidney transplants.
Identification of those genes through the use of cutting-edge technology, is a major step forward in improving long-term outcomes for kidney transplantation patients, said Prof O'Connell.
"If you can identify after three months who is at risk, you can tailor treatments to increase kidney survival rates," Prof O'Connell added. The researchers are planning to test their predictive tool in clinical trials in five years.
The study is published in the journal The Lancet.