Clinical research is crucial to the advancement of medicine. As an example of one of our many research studies in kidney transplantation, we would like to introduce you to the GAMBIT study which is being carried out at Guy’s hospital. This study received support from the KPA last year as well as long standing support from the Medical Research Council and from Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity.
Kidney transplantation is an important treatment for children and adults with kidney failure. Although most patients need to take immunosuppressive drugs for life to prevent transplant rejection, some patients may become “tolerant” to their transplants. This is a state where, even without immunosuppressive drugs, the immune system does not recognise the transplanted kidney as “foreign”. If we can identify patients who are “tolerant”, we may be able to reduce or even completely stop immunosuppressive treatment and this would avoid unnecessary side effects.
We have collected and analysed samples from around 400 patients who have received a kidney transplant. We have identified specific “markers” in a small number of patients who have been able to stop their treatment but still maintain good kidney function. We could potentially use these markers as a screening tool to find other tolerant patients and decide whether these patients might be able to reduce or stop their immunosuppressive treatment.
We are currently developing a clinical trial to properly test these markers in the clinic. This could help some patients to reduce the unwanted side effects of medication including the increased risk of infection and cancer. For more information, please contact Dr Maria Hernandez-Fuentes, email@example.com.