Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Improving the odds for kidney transplant success

BERKLEY ENGINEERING | Thomas Walden Levy
Schmeckpeper and Nasr represented the Kidney Injury Test team at the Clinton Global University, held at Berkeley on April 1. (Photo courtesy KIT)
Kidney transplants are, by far, the most common and successful organ transplants worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, more than 70,000 are performed annually. Yet the risk of rejection remains, and about 15 percent of transplant recipients suffer a serious bout of “host versus graft” disease. If severe enough, it can lead to the loss of the new organ. While immune system-suppressing medications help keep the kidney viable, now a team of bioengineering students in the joint Berkeley-UCSF Masters of Translational Medicine program (MTM) have found a way to improve their efficacy with a technology called Kidney Injury Test (KIT).

Problem

To decide how much immune system-suppressing medication to give a patient, transplant specialists need to monitor the amount of rejection-induced injury in the new kidney. But the two most widely used methods for detection are either slow to detect damage, or risky and invasive. Continue reading
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