Saturday, July 16, 2011

Predicting liver transplant rejection

"The survival rate of liver transplant patients one year after treatment has improved from about 30% in the 1970s to more than 80%, with acute cellular rejection (ACR) the most common complication. It occurs in about 30% of cases and is generally arrested by drug treatment. However, if ACR occurs more than one year after the transplant, survival rates plummet.
The diagnosis of ACR requires a tissue biopsy, which is risky and uncomfortable for the patient. Even then, the interpretation of samples is difficult because the three clinical predictors are not always present.
These problems have prompted scientists in the US to look for a non-invasive alternative diagnosis for ACR and they turned to proteomics for the solution. Michael Charlton and colleagues from the Mayo Clinic and Foundation, Rochester, MN, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham decided to look at the serum proteome to see if any indicators of ACR were detectable.
Human serum contains many high-abundant proteins but, if they are removed before protein analysis, it is possible to detect low-abundant proteins which are transiently present in serum.
So, proteins secreted by cells or produced during cell destruction become visible. These include hormones and cytokines which are transported in serum to their destinations within the human body."

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