Kidney-transplant patients who add 100 days of medicine gain more protection

Sep 08, 2010 By Raquel Maurier

A researcher with the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Alberta has discovered a way to better protect kidney-transplant patients who are at high risk for developing a life-threatening illness after surgery.

Kidney-transplant patients with no immunity to a deadly virus known as cytomegalovirus, or CMV, are typically put on a course of antiviral medication known as Valcyte for 100 days post-surgery. But Atul Humar has discovered that doubling the length of time on that medication to 200 days drops the CMV infection rates for high-risk patients significantly. The infection rates within one year post-surgery decreased by more than half, going from 36.8 per cent to 16.8 per cent.

The results of Humar’s research were published in the American Journal of Transplantation in August. His study, which involved working with an international group of investigators and with the pharmaceutical industry, involved 326 patients at 65 centres in 13 countries around the world.

In August the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the increased length of drug treatment for high risk kidney-transplant patients.

“It’s an exciting finding,” says Humar, who was the principle investigator in the study and is the director of transplant infectious diseases with the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry. “The better prevention strategies we have for patients, the better it is for them. We always want to prevent these infections as opposed to treating them as they arise.”

Many adults already have immunity to CMV because they have been in contact with the virus at some point in their lives. But for those who have never been exposed to CMV and have no immunity to it, the disease is easy to contract, especially for people with suppressed immune systems who are on anti-rejection drugs.

During the first six months after a , more than one third of patients can become sick due to CMV, which can cause complications in various organs throughout the body.

Humar says the next step is to further improve prevention efforts in high-risk transplant patients to further decrease CMV infection rates. He is currently working in the lab to study responses to the virus.

“I want to see if we can predict who will be at risk. We want to check patients’ immunity to the virus over time and refine our prevention strategies based on that.”

Explore further: New research demonstrates benefits of national and international device registries

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

It pays to be careful post-kidney transplant

Sep 18, 2009

For kidney transplant recipients, infection with a virus called cytomegalovirus (CMV) may lead to devastating complications. New research suggests that extending the period of preventive treatment after kidney ...

Most kidney transplant candidates will accept risk of infection

Mar 25, 2010

Most kidney transplant candidates are willing to receive a kidney from a donor at increased risk of viral infection, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology (CJASN ...

The bowels of infection

Oct 21, 2009

Current research suggests that latent cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection may exacerbate inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The related report by Onyeagocha et al, "Latent cytomegalovirus infection exacerbates experimental colitis," ...

Recommended for you

New approach to particle therapy dosimetry

Dec 19, 2014

Researchers at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), in collaboration with EMRP partners, are working towards a universal approach to particle beam therapy dosimetry.

Supplement maker admits lying about ingredients

Dec 17, 2014

Federal prosecutors say the owner and president of a dietary supplement company has admitted his role in the sale of diluted and adulterated dietary ingredients and supplements sold by his company.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.