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NYP/Weill Cornell physician-scientists present at 2009 American Transplant Congress in Boston

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center physician-scientists are presenting exciting new research at the 2009 American Transplant Congress in Boston from May 30 to June 3.

Dr. Sandip Kapur, chief of transplant surgery and director of kidney and pancreas transplant programs at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, and Dr. Manikkam Suthanthiran, chairman of the Department of Transplantation Medicine and chief of the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, are both available for comment on the following studies and on other news from the conference.

Alterations in MicroRNA Predict Rejection and May Be Novel Treatment Target
[1016] Poster Session: Basic Mechanisms of Acute Rejection I
Sunday, May 31, 5:30 p.m.; Exhibit Hall C
Authors: Dany Anglicheau, Vijay Sharma, Ruchuang Ding, Aurlie Hummel, Catherine Snopkowski, Darshana Dadhania, Surya Seshan, Manikkam Suthanthiran

The authors have identified differences in the expression of microRNAs between patients who experienced kidney rejection and those with successful long-term transplants. MicroRNAs are a newly discovered group of genes that control a wide variety of biological process. The researchers found that rejection can be predicted with a greater than 95 percent accuracy by screening for the changes in expression of very few microRNAs. In addition to serving as a novel diagnostic test, microRNA profiles may predict the development of transplant rejection and response to anti-rejection treatment. Moreover, the researchers hope to develop safe and personalized treatment using microRNA profiles to guide therapy.

From Concept to Reality: Increasing Transplantation Through Donor Chains
[319] Concurrent Session 45: Kidney Living Donor Paired Exchange/Donor Chains
Monday, June 1, 4:12 p.m.; Room 302/304
Authors: David Leeser, Meredith Aull, Judith Hambleton, David Serur, Garet Hil, Darshana Dadhania, Marian Charlton, Sandip Kapur

Approximately one-third of kidney transplant candidates with the potential to receive a transplant from a living donor will be incompatible due to blood type or immune system reactivity against the donor. Registries such as the National Kidney Registry have been developed to match incompatible donor/recipient pairs with more acceptable donors and recipients. In addition, altruistic donors, who do not have an intended recipient, are entered into the registry to increase the pool of potential donors. This system has allowed NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell to transplant 70 percent of incompatible pairs.

Transplanting Islet Cells Without Use of Toxic Drugs
[154] Concurrent Session 22: Novel Methods of Immune Regulation in Islet Transplantation
Sunday, May 31, 4:12 p.m.; Room 312
Authors: Elaine Cheng, Raymond Weir, Mila Lagman, Vijay Sharma, Manikkam Suthanthiran, Hua Yang

Researchers will present their results demonstrating the ability of a specialized type of cells, called T regulatory cells, to protect pancreatic islet cell transplants in mice and eliminate the need for standard immunosuppressive drugs. Since the drugs currently used to treat islet cell transplantation are toxic to the islet cells themselves, a T regulatory cell-based treatment regimen in the clinic may have significant advantages over the current treatments.

Transplanting Single Kidneys From Donors Under 5 Years of Age Into Standard Adult Recipients: Can We Achieve Optimal Outcomes?
[92] Concurrent Session 13: Pediatric and DCD Donors
Sunday, May 31, 2:39 p.m.; Room 208
Authors: Vinod Balachandran, Meredith Aull, Maria Goris, Jose Figueiro, David Leeser, Sandip Kapur

Researchers will present their results showing that average-sized adults receiving a single kidney from pediatric donors less than five years of age have similar outcomes to adults receiving a kidney from an adult donor. Historically, adults receiving transplants from young donors were given both kidneys because it was thought that a single pediatric kidney could not provide adequate renal function for an adult. This practice has the potential to increase the organ donor pool.

Non-invasive Urine Test for Diagnosis of Most Common Kidney Transplant Complications
[122] Concurrent Session 17: Immune Monitoring: Chronic Allograft Damage and Chronic Humoral Rejection
Sunday, May 31, 4:48 p.m.; Room 309
Authors: Thangamani Muthukumar, Ruchuang Ding, Catherine Snopkowski, Aurlie Hummel, Vijay Sharma, Darshana Dadhania, Surya Seshan, Manikkam Suthanthiran, Dany Anglicheau

The authors will present their findings about the development and validation of a new gene-based urine test for the diagnosis of renal interstitial fibrous and tubular atrophy (scarring of the kidney transplant) -- the most common cause of kidney transplant failure. Before now, an invasive biopsy test was the only way to diagnose the condition.

Older Living Donors Provides Excellent Outcomes After Kidney Transplantation
[532] Concurrent Session 74: Kidney Living Donor Outcomes I
Tuesday, June 2, 5:00 p.m.; Ballroom C
Authors: Vinod Balachandran, David Leeser, Meredith Aull, Marian Charlton, Jose Figueiro, David Serur, Joseph Del Pizzo, Sandip Kapur

Some transplant centers avoid accepting older living donors due to concerns over inferior kidney function in the recipient. The authors have shown that equivalent outcomes can be achieved with transplantation of kidneys from donors older than 50 years when compared with donors younger than 50. It was noted that kidney function was lower, though acceptable, in recipients of kidneys from donors over 70 years of age.

Predicting Kidney Function in Transplant Patients With BK Virus Infection
[1558] Poster Session: Strategies in Immune Monitoring
Monday, June 1, 5:30 p.m.; Exhibit Hall C
Authors: Darshana Dadhania, Catherine Snopkowski, Thangamani Muthukumar, Jun Lee, Vijay Sharma, Ruchuang Ding, Surya Seshan, Manikkam Suthanthiran

BK virus infection has emerged as a major complication in transplant recipients, and almost 50 percent of transplant patients with BK virus infection go on to lose their transplants. Until now, it has been difficult to predict which patients will have a bad outcome and those who will not. The authors have developed a new molecular test to identify patients at risk for disease progression.

Charlson Comorbidity Index Predicts Patient Survival Independent of Age Following Deceased Donor Renal Transplantation
[107] Concurrent Session 15: Donor/Recipient Factors and SCDs
Sunday, May 31, 4:48 p.m.; Room 210
Authors: David Leeser, Meredith Aull, Ryan Cauley, Jose Figueiro, Sandip Kapur

Charlson Comorbidty Index (CCI) scores may be a novel tool to assess whether kidney transplant candidates will do well after transplant. The authors found that patients with a higher CCI score have a higher risk of death and graft loss if they receive a donor organ from someone older and/or with comorbidties, but do well if they receive a standard donor organ.


Contact: Andrew Klein
New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College

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