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Urine Test May Improve Monitoring of Kidney Transplants


Christian P. Larsen, MD, PhD, is director of the Emory University transplant center in Atlanta. He did not participate in Suthanthiran's study, but is very familiar with his work.

"I think this test will begin to be incorporated into clinical practice in the near future," Larsen tells WebMD. "It has tremendous potential. It also has the potential to change the way a given patient is managed [by their doctor]. ... [We] may be able to tailor a patient's therapy based on the results [of the urine test]."

But others are not so sure that this sophisticated technique will find wide use. Marcia Wheeler, MS, is a research associate in the urology section of the Yale University Medical School, in New Haven, Conn. She says that mRNA measurement is tricky, and that not all laboratories will get results as good as those reported by Suthanthiran.

"It is difficult to isolate mRNA from urine," Wheeler says. "They say they get 95% success -- the best people get that kind of success, but not everyone. And the isolation of mRNA is really difficult if the urine is infected, and that often is the case in people with kidney rejection."

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