Stanford Team Tests Cell-Free DNA Assay to Monitor Lung Transplantation


NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – A research team in Stephen Quake's Stanford University laboratory has developed a next-generation sequencing-based assay that analyzes circulating cell-free DNA in lung transplantation patients for signs of rejection and infection.

Reporting their work today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences, the researchers compared their assay to transbronchial biopsy, the current gold standard, for monitoring transplant rejection in 51 patients. They found that their assay was "informative of acute and chronic rejection," with an area-under the curve of .9, a sensitivity of 100 percent and specificity of 73 percent at a threshold of 1 percent cell-free donor DNA.

Although lung transplantation is offered to patients with end-stage pulmonary disease, clinical outcome is poor, with a median survival of just 5.3 years. Complications following the surgery include injuries sustained during the procedure, infection, and two types of rejection: acute cellular rejection, which occurs in the first year post-transplant in about 35 percent of patients, and chronic rejection, which is the leading cause of death for transplant patients. Continue reading