New test aims to make life easier for young transplant patients

Young kidney transplant patients like Kaden Morris, pictured below with parents Keith Morris and Karen Brouton, could benefit from Dr. Tom Blydt-Hansen's research.

Young kidney transplant patients like Kaden Morris, pictured here with parents Keith Morris and Karen Brouton, could benefit from Dr. Tom Blydt-Hansen's research.
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Fast facts about pediatric kidney disease

Pediatric kidney disease by the numbers

Winnipeg Health Region
Wave, January / February 2010

Dr. Tom Blydt-Hansen is leading a study to determine whether a new test can be used to detect a patient's risk of rejecting a newly transplanted kidney.

Approximately 10 to 20 per cent of children who receive a kidney transplant will experience at least one rejection episode in the first year after transplant. Over time, up to 40 per cent will have at least one rejection episode.

Currently, a kidney biopsy is needed to detect rejection. However, Blydt-Hansen is studying ways to perform a simpler and less invasive test on urine that could be done regularly to detect early signs of rejection.

Blydt-Hansen is using a technique called Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. The NMR uses a magnetic field to measure the amounts of different metabolites that everyone has in their urine. Metabolites are small molecules produced and used by our cells, and include simple sugars, amino acids and waste products.

"The premise for our study is that amounts of these metabolites will change as a result of the rejection process," says Blydt- Hansen, a scientist at the Manitoba Institute of Child Health, the research division of The Children's Hospital Foundation. "If we can distinguish these patterns, that will allow us to detect rejection early and then begin treatment to protect the kidney transplant and improve the long-term kidney function."

Preliminary results of the study, done in collaboration with the Institute for Biodiagnostics (National Research Council of Canada), have shown more than 90 per cent accuracy in being able to differentiate between the samples with and without rejection. Blydt-Hansen and his team hope to be able to design a test that can be used in the clinic. This should help reduce the number of biopsies that children with transplants will need and help identify children with possible early rejection.

Wave: January / February 2010

About Wave

Wave is published six times a year by the Winnipeg Health Region in cooperation with the Winnipeg Free Press. It is available at newsstands, hospitals and clinics throughout Winnipeg, as well as McNally Robinson Books.

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