A new study of the most commonly prescribed post-kidney transplant drug suggests it may not be the most effective weapon to fend off organ rejection and may even damage some donor kidneys. The research, to be presented Nov. 2 at the American Society of Nephrology annual meeting, identified another drug that seems to work better, a finding that could help expand the pool of donor organs.
An analysis by an Ohio University physiologist suggests that large doses of cyclosporine, the most often used anti-rejection drug, could cause a drop in the rate at which the kidney filters blood and decrease blood flow to the kidney. For patients who receive whats known as a "marginal kidney," problems with cyclosporine may be particularly dangerous, the study found. A shortage of donor kidneys has prompted doctors to consider the use of organs from people who had high blood pressure or other health problems, as well as donor kidneys from non-heart beating donors. These marginal kidneys once were presumed to have higher failures rates, but research now suggests that the majority of them fare as well as any other transplanted organ. But such kidneys may be more prone to ischemia-reperfusion injury, tissue damage that occurs when blood flow to an organ is stopped, then started again after a period of time. The injury is common in all kidney transplants, but may be particularly severe in patients who receive marginal kidneys.
"More hospitals are starting to use marginal kidneys more often," said Sharon Inman, lead author of the study and assistant professor of biomedical sciences in the universitys College of Osteopathic Medicine. "We want to see if we can make those kidneys exposed to ischemia-reperfusion injury work better so we can use them for transplant."
Kelli Whitlock | EurekAlert!
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