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Assays & screens

Monitoring cell-free DNA in plasma to predict organ transplant rejection

Cell-free DNA in plasma could be used to quantify viral load and predict risk of transplant rejection. In plasma obtained from patients that received heart or lung transplants, cell-free DNA was sequenced to identify changes in virus populations and quantify viral load. The data were analyzed to find correlations between antiviral and immunosuppressant regimes, viral load and risk of organ rejection. Decreased burden of anellovirus post-transplantation correlated with increased organ rejection, which was thought to reflect an increased level of patient immunocompetence. Next steps include using the method in larger patient cohorts and patients undergoing organ transplants other than heart and lung.
ViraCor-IBT Laboratories Inc. markets ImmuKnow, an immune cell function assay that detects cell-mediated immune response in patients undergoing immunosuppressive therapy for organ transplant.

SciBX 6(48); doi:10.1038/scibx.2013.1403
Published online Dec. 19, 2013

Patent and licensing status undisclosed

De Vlaminck, I. et al. Cell;
published online Nov. 21, 2013;
Contact: Stephen R. Quake, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif.