RGCB Scientists Conduct Groundbreaking Genetic Study in Kidney Transplant Patients


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Thiruvananthapuram, Dec. 5 (UNI) In a groundbreaking genetic study that could dramatically reduce the risk of organ rejection and other medical complications, scientists at the Rajiv Gandhi Center for Biotechnology (RGCB) have formulated here a method to predict the dose optimal immunosuppressive drug administered to kidney transplant patients.

The dose prediction study focused on the immunosuppressive drug tacrolimus, which is given to a kidney, heart or liver transplant patient to lower the body’s immunity and thereby significantly reduce the chances of organ rejection.

For maximum effectiveness, the level of the drug should be maintained at an optimal concentration in the blood, especially during the initial period after transplantation, according to a statement released on Sunday.

Dr Radhakrishnan Nair and Dr Lekshmy Srinivas of the Division of Laboratory Medicine and Molecular Diagnosis, RGCB, conducted the pharmacogenetic study involving patients who underwent kidney transplantation at Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram, and those who received tacrolimus as an immunosuppressant.

They studied the effect of genes and their variants involved in determining drug concentrations in the blood of patients.

“We have developed an equation / technique that can be used by nephrologists to predict the initial dose of tacrolimus, which should be given to patients to achieve an optimal drug level in the initial period after surgery, based on their profiles. genetic, ”said Dr. Radhakrishnan Nair.

“This equation is specific to Kerala patients undergoing kidney transplantation. The molecular method uses the testing of patients’ DNA for a specific variation, before transplant surgery, ”added Dr Lekshmy Srinivas.

This variation, along with their body weight, can be used to calculate the optimal starting dose of medication for the patient. It will help patients achieve optimal Tacrolimus levels after transplantation and thus prevent unwanted effects due to overdose and rejection.

Currently, the dose is calculated based on the patient’s body weight. This approach can cause many variations in drug levels.

To achieve this, blood levels must be closely monitored and drug doses adjusted, as lower levels can lead to rejection of the transplanted kidney, while higher levels can lead to unwanted medical complications. Not only is this trial-and-error method of dose adjustment time-consuming and expensive, it also leads to many complications in patients.

“Although there have been similar studies in other populations before, the predictive value of the pharmacogenetic factors identified was insufficient and little used clinically. The new development would help prevent the adverse effects of overdose and thus help to many patients, “said Professor Chandrabhas Narayana, Director, RGCB.

The pioneering study was conducted in collaboration with Dr Noble Gracious of the Department of Nephrology, Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram. The group also discovered genetic variants that increase the chances of rejection and side effects associated with the drug.

The research, which has the potential to significantly save the lives of kidney transplant patients, was jointly funded by the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) and the RGCB and was published in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology.

UNI DS CS 1326

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