Non-invasive diagnostic kit to monitor fibrosis in kidney-transplant patients

Francesc E. Borràs


    Francesc E. Borràs


    Instituto de Investigación Germans Trias i Pujol (IGTP), Spain


    Renal biopsy is the gold standard method for the diagnosis of chronic graft dysfunction in Kidney Transplanted (KTx) patients. However, renal biopsies are an invasive procedure, of limited repeatability, representing a small part of the whole organ, and often describing an irreversible renal damage. Finding non-invasive biomarkers allowing more frequent monitoring of patients is therefore of interest.

    The project’s group has defined and validated several molecular markers (miRNAs and proteins) associated with urine Extracellular Vesicles (uEVs). These non-invasive biomarkers correlate – respectively – with an impaired function of the renal graft and with an increase of degree of graft fibrosis (biopsy-proven). Particularly, graft fibrosis is considered a primary actor in the chronic dysfunction of the kidney and, in most cases, of graft-loss. Borràs’ group has found increased levels of a protein (SEQ1920) in uEVs, which could indicate a higher degree of renal fibrosis without the need of renal biopsy, thus allowing a frequent, non-invasive monitoring of patients.

    The project aims to develop rapid tests to clinically monitor KTx patients based on the team’s results. Compared to renal biopsy, this alternative test will provide a general perspective of the organ in a non-invasive fashion, with no potential complications and associated risks, reduced cost, and unlimited repetitiveness.