- Dr Emmanuel Zorn, Principal Investigator
- Dr Waichi Wong, Co-Investigator
- Dr James Markmann, Collaborator
- Dr Susan Saidman, Collaborator
- Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA
- Analyzing the Development and Function of “Non-specific” Antibodies in the Blood of Kidney Transplant Recipients
Transplantation is currently the treatment of choice for a number of terminal kidney diseases, offering a much better quality of life than dialysis. In 2006, more than 17,000 kidney transplantations were performed in the United States, and the number of people on the waitlist for such transplantation continues to grow yearly. Considerable progress has been made in the past decades in handling transplant recipients and preventing rejection of kidney grafts. Yet, some mechanisms of rejection are still obscure and therefore difficult to treat. It has been known for decades that kidney transplants elicit immune responses that result in the production of molecules in the blood (antibodies) that attack the graft. A number of tests are routinely used in the clinic to detect these antibodies and predict the graft outcome. It is commonly accepted that these antibodies are specific to the graft. However, in preliminary studies, we demonstrated that some antibodies may not be as specific to the graft as initially thought, yet would be detected as such in some of the routine tests. Through a series of experiments we will find out how frequently these “non-specific” antibodies are detected in the blood of transplant recipients. We will also examine their possible role in the rejection process. We expect that our studies will help develop new treatment for graft rejection.