How a Liquid Biopsy Helps Your Transplanted Kidney or Heart?

Every buzzword has its beginning.

In early 2020, few had heard of “Social Distancing.” By March, however, “Social Distancing” had become part of the universal lexicon.

In the transplant community, it’s just a matter of time until “Liquid Biopsy” becomes the latest buzzword.

What is a Liquid Biopsy?

The liquid biopsy uses fragments from the blood to give information that is usually found from taking a solid biopsy. The science has been widely used in cancer diagnosis and management, replacing invasive sampling with a non-invasive blood test.

As cells undergo changes, injury, or natural death, their DNA fragments are released into the blood stream. These fragments are known as cell-free DNA (cfDNA),1 and they provide a continuous stream of information. In the case of cancer cells, a liquid biopsy is detecting the cfDNA coming from the tumor.

How Does a Liquid Biopsy Play a Role in Kidney- and Heart-Transplant Management?

When a kidney or heart is transplanted into a recipient, there is a continuous release of cfDNA fragments from the donated kidney or heart, which circulate though the transplant-recipient’s blood. These fragments from the donor organ are known as donor-derived cell-free DNA (dd-cfDNA) and measuring them allows for the early detection of injury coming from the transplanted kidney or heart.

AlloSure® is the first liquid biopsy that evaluates the health of a transplanted kidney or heart.

AlloSure measures these dd-cfDNA-fragment levels, which rise when there is organ injury. AlloSure can detect these dd-cfDNA levels early through a simple blood test, and AlloSure helps identify the potential early rejection of the transplanted organ.

“Cell-free DNA is a game-changer in the field of transplantation,” says nephrologist Shiang-Cheng Kung, MD, who is a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine.  “By detecting graft injury at the molecular level, AlloSure provides a testing solution that is both reliable to the clinician and non-invasive to the patient.”

What Are the Benefits of a Liquid Biopsy for Transplant Management?

What Are the Benefits of a Liquid Biopsy for Transplant Management?

According to a report from the Circulating Donor-Derived Cell-Free DNA in Blood for Diagnosing Acute Rejection in Kidney Transplant Recipients (DART) study, plasma levels of dd-cfDNA can discriminate active kidney-rejection status

“Thus, dd-cfDNA may be used to assess [transplanted-kidney] rejection and injury.”2

A kidney- or heart-transplant liquid biopsy like AlloSure has many advantages. Among them:

  • AlloSure is noninvasive
  • AlloSure can detect injury to the transplanted organ early on
  • AlloSure Is validated in a multicenter prospective studies
  • AlloSure Is used in 160 transplant centers
  • AlloSure Is covered by Medicare
  • AlloSure can be used in re-transplanted patients as well

A Better Measuring Stick Than Creatinine Alone

Doctors use AlloSure liquid biopsies to monitor patients after a transplant. By accurately determining organ injury to better detect active rejection, AlloSure lets your doctor better manage your transplanted kidney or heart.

Compared to just measuring creatinine alone, using AlloSure after a kidney transplant gives your doctor a very useful and superior measurement of your transplant’s health.

Furthermore, an AlloSure could help you avoid an invasive and unnecessary tissue biopsy.

To learn more about AlloSure, go to https://www.caredx.com/products-and-services/transplant-services/kidney/allosure/.

To better manage your transplant,  download the AlloCare app.

1 https://www.aacc.org/cln/articles/2020/june/monitoring-the-health-of-solid-organs-after-transplantation-using-cell-free-dna

2 J Am Soc Nephrol. 2017 Jul; 28(7): 2221–2232.