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Blood test serves as 'crystal ball' for heart transplant patients, UCLA-led study finds
Date:2/18/2014

, which received clearance from the Food and Drug Administration in 2008. The test is now routinely used by a majority of U.S. heart transplant centers to monitor low-risk patients during follow-up care, resulting in a substantial reduction in the number of biopsies.

AlloMap, which is based on research Deng led in conjunction with more than a dozen of the largest U.S. heart transplant centers and the Brisbane, Calif.based biotech company XDx, measures the expression levels of 11 genes from a patient's blood sample, each of which is known to be associated with rejection risk.

"The AlloMap was the first FDA-cleared test allowing transplant centers to rule out rejection at the time of the visit," Deng said. "But until now, it has never been used to predict future events."

The current study is based on data originally collected by leading transplant centers and published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2010. For that study, 600 heart transplant recipients were randomly assigned to be monitored for potential episodes of rejection either through routine biopsy or through the AlloMap test. The study found that AlloMap was equally as effective as biopsy at detecting rejection or dysfunction, and it resulted in increased patient satisfaction because it was less invasive.

The new study demonstrates for the first time the ability of the AlloMap test, when used over time, to predict future events.

Deng and colleagues noted that using gene-expression profiling to predict the future likelihood of patients experiencing rejection-related problems with their transplanted heart could change the way such patients are treated.

For example, those deemed to be at low risk for adverse events could be given lower doses of immunosuppressive drugs, which could reduce the significant side effects. On the other hand, patients found to be at high risk could be evaluated at shorter time intervals to determine
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Contact: Rachel Champeau
rchampeau@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2270
University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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