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At this year’s European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID), researchers presented a new diagnostic method for early recognition of kidney transplant failure. Current diagnostic screening approaches for detecting BK virus, a major cause of kidney rejection in immune-compromised patients, rely on blood culture techniques, which are not routinely performed in transplant donors or recipients.

GlobalData expects that new cost-effective diagnostics, such as the urinary proteomics test presented by Dr. Los-Arcos, which takes advantage of already existing analytical instruments routinely used in most hospital settings, will have a tremendous impact on early kidney transplant rejection diagnosis and treatment options.

In a retrospective pilot study across four Spanish hospitals, Dr. Los-Arcos and colleagues examined urine samples of 30 kidney transplant patients for proteins expressed by the human host and the BK virus, and found that BK viral proteins were only present in transplant patients with BK virus-associated nephropathy, while patients with T-cell mediated acute rejection (TCMR) or stable graft patients did not show any BK virus proteins.

However, human protein level expression showed unique expression profiles for BK virus-associated nephropathy, TCMR, and stable graft patients.

The recipients of life-saving kidney transplants currently face rejection rates of up to 25% within a five-year period. Affordable urinary protein expression diagnostics have the potential to improve early diagnosis and are able to guide physicians towards appropriate treatment options.

The researchers were optimistic that this diagnostic tool could be available within two to three years. However, GlobalData notes that this technology still has to be validated in prospective studies and also must be compared with currently existing blood culture techniques before gaining market approval.

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By GlobalData