Optimal level of immunosuppressant drug for transplant patients can be predicted: RGCB study

09:15 AM Dec 06, 2021 | PTI |

Thiruvananthapuram: It would now be possible to predict the optimal amount of immunosuppressant drug to be given to transplant patients to reduce risk of organ rejection, according to a genetic study carried out by the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB).


Scientists from RGCB have worked out an equation or technique that can be used by nephrologists to predict the starting dose of the drug based on their genetic profiles, the research institute said in a release.

”This equation is specific to patients from Kerala who undergo kidney transplantation. The molecular-based method uses testing the DNA of patients for a specific variation, before transplantation surgery,” an RGCB scientist has said in the release.

This variation, along with their body weight, can be used to calculate the optimal starting drug dose for the patient, it said and added that this would help the patients to achieve optimal levels of the immunosuppressant drug post-transplantation and thus prevent the adverse effects due to overdose and rejection.

At present, the dose is calculated based on the patient’s body weight and this approach can lead to a lot of variations in the drug levels, it said.


The dose prediction study was focused on the immunosuppressant drug tacrolimus, which is given to a kidney, heart or liver transplant patient to lower the body’s immunity and thereby considerably reduce the chances of organ rejection.

”Though there have been similar studies in other populations before, the predictive value of pharmacogenetic factors identified were insufficient and not much of clinical use. The new development would help prevent the adverse effects of overdose and thereby help a lot of patients,” said Prof Chandrabhas Narayana, Director, RGCB.

The pioneering study was conducted in collaboration with the Department of Nephrology, Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram, the release said.

The group also discovered the genetic variants which increase the chances of rejection and adverse effects associated with the drug, it added.

The research was jointly funded by the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), and RGCB and was published in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology, the release said.



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