Researchers find way to control immunosuppressant drug level in patients having transplants

The study conducted in collaboration with the Department of Nephrology, Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram was focused on the immunosuppressant drug tacrolimus

Nephrologists now can predict the starting dose using the genetic profile of the patient. (Representative Image)

Immunosuppressant drugs are prescribed to kidney, heart or liver transplant patients to lower the body’s immunity and reduce chances of organ rejection. The dose of the drug is currently calculated using the person’s body weight which can lead to variants in drug level. The overuse of such drugs can lower the body’s immunity beyond need causing adverse reactions.

Researchers’ at Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB) have now come up with an equation that can be used to predict the optimal amount of drug that should be given to transplant patients to avoid chances of organ rejection, reported PTI.

Nephrologists now can predict the starting dose using the genetic profile of the patient. The molecular -based method uses testing the DNA of patients for specific variation and using this profile along with the body weight, the surgeon can derive the optimal starting drug dose for the patients, an RHCB scientist working on the equation said.

The study conducted in collaboration with the Department of Nephrology, Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram was focused on the immunosuppressant drug tacrolimus, which is given to a kidney, heart or liver transplant patient and the equation derived is specific to patients from Kerala who undergo kidney transplantation, the scientist said.

Prof Chandrabhas Narayana, Director, RGCB in a statement said that though there have been similar studies in other countries but predictive value of pharmacogenetic factors identified were insufficient and not much of clinical use. He is hopeful that the equation will help a lot of patients.

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