Volunteers sought to boost long-term outcomes of kidney transplants

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Researchers at The University of Western Australia are calling for volunteers to participate in a study that will help to determine new methods of assessing the impact of cytomegalovirus (CMV) infections in kidney transplant recipients.

Led by Professor Patricia Price from UWA's School of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, the study aims to derive new and better ways of diagnosing patients suffering from these post-operative infections by better understanding how healthy adults control CMV infections in relation to kidney transplant patients.

"Most healthy people have latent (inactive) CMV infections which are generally made harmless by anti-viral Natural Killer (NK) cells of the immune system," Professor Price said.

"However, in kidney transplant patients on long-term immune-suppressive drugs, CMV infections go uncontrolled and can produce some very serious and debilitating infections in these people."

The study will analyse the anti-viral activity of NK-cells isolated from blood and saliva samples, as well as any potential effects on cardiovascular function.

The group is looking for renal transplant patients and healthy control volunteers willing to provide a small sample of their blood and saliva, and undergo non-invasive, ultrasound based measurements of cardiovascular function.  All testing will be undertaken by fully trained staff at Royal Perth Hospital.

"We will compare the anti-viral activity and cardiovascular function of healthy participants against transplant recipients to see if there are any meaningful ways of measuring the impact of CMV infection on patient health," Professor Price said.

It is hoped that the findings of this study will help researchers and doctors to make more informed and effective decisions when it comes to the care of immune-compromised transplant patients suffering from these infections.

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