Biomarker tests could someday help improve outcomes for organ transplant patients

January 31, 2018

Organ transplants save lives, but the story doesn't end when a patient emerges from the operating room. Rejection episodes, in which the immune system rallies against the new organ, can occur. According to an article in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, researchers are turning to biomarkers to help them get a better idea of which patients are more likely to have an episode.

Senior Editor Celia Henry Arnaud reports that more than 33,000 organs were transplanted in the U.S. in 2016, and as many as 15 percent of patients receiving transplants experience acute rejection. At present, the only way to monitor how well the transplant worked is to put a needle into the organ and take a biopsy weeks, months and even years afterward. But a biopsy is invasive and comes with potential complications. And then there's the time, expense and anxiety associated with the procedure. That's why researchers are investigating whether biomarkers -- often, nucleic acids or proteins -- in the blood or urine could be used as an initial noninvasive test before resorting to a biopsy.

Researchers explain that current biomarkers fall short. For example, creatinine has been used for decades to monitor kidney function, but it's not accurate enough. So, various teams are now hunting for other markers, such as RNA levels; the composition of vesicles called exosomes; and the presence of "proteoforms," which are modified proteins. To begin the process of getting these discoveries to patients, the National Institutes of Health funded a consortium to run some of these biomarkers through clinical trials. There have been positive results, but it's still unclear whether treating patients based on the markers will alter their outcomes. That's the hope, but as one researcher says, "We have our work cut out for us."
-end-
The article, "Uncovering the hidden signs of organ transplant rejection," is freely available here.

The American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, is a not-for-profit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. ACS is a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related information and research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. ACS does not conduct research, but publishes and publicizes peer-reviewed scientific studies. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

To automatically receive news releases from the American Chemical Society, contact newsroom@acs.org.

Follow us on Twitter | Facebook

American Chemical Society

Related Biomarkers Articles from Brightsurf:

Urgent need for blood-based biomarkers to diagnosis concussion
There is an urgent need for objective markers for diagnosing concussion, or mild traumatic brain injury.

Engineered bacteria churn out cancer biomarkers
A Cornell lab has created these very tools by commandeering simple, single-celled microorganisms - namely E. coli bacteria - and engineering them to explore the complex process of glycosylation and the functional role that protein-linked glycans play in health and disease.

Exercise induces secretion of biomarkers into sweat
The aim was to reveal the potential of microRNAs in sweat extracellular vesicles in monitoring exercise performance.

Phosphoprotein biomarkers to guide cancer therapy are identified
Researchers led by James Bibb, Ph.D., professor of surgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, suggest using a broader lens of post-translational modification analysis to identify new biomarkers of cancer drivers that may allow a much more precise prediction of patient responses to treatments.

Exhaled biomarkers can reveal lung disease
Using specialized nanoparticles, MIT engineers have developed a way to diagnose pneumonia or other lung diseases by analyzing the breath exhaled by the patient.

Race-specific lupus nephritis biomarkers
A University of Houston biomedical researcher has discovered a difference in urinary biomarker proteins of lupus nephritis in patients according to race.

Semen miRNAs could be non-invasive biomarkers for prostate cancer
Researchers of the Human Molecular Genetics group at the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), led by Dr.

Scientists have found longevity biomarkers
An international group of scientists studied the effects of 17 different lifespan-extending interventions on gene activity in mice and discovered genetic biomarkers of longevity.

After concussion, biomarkers in the blood may help predict recovery time
A study of high school and college football players suggests that biomarkers in the blood may have potential use in identifying which players are more likely to need a longer recovery time after concussion, according to a study published in the July 3, 2019, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

3D-printed device detects biomarkers of preterm birth
Preterm birth (PTB) -- defined as birth before the 37th week of gestation -- is the leading complication of pregnancy.

Read More: Biomarkers News and Biomarkers Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.