T-cell repertoire analysis for immune monitoring in renal transplantation

Kidney disease affects 1 in 10 Canadians with an estimated cost of over $2 billion per year. Transplantation is the treatment of choice for kidney failure, but unfortunately approximately 30% of kidney transplants are lost to severe immune rejection. This leads to approximately 500 Canadians losing their transplant every year and returning to dialysis. These patients have a four-fold increased risk of death, decreased quality-of-life, and a cost of up to $1 million each to the healthcare system over their remaining life. Despite improvements in transplant care, there are still no proven methods to detect early immune rejection. Our goal is to develop a new minimally invasive blood-based test to monitor the immune system of transplant patients to detect immune rejection before kidney damage happens. This would allow transplant doctors to intervene early with powerful immune regulating medications and prevent irreversible damage to the transplant kidney. Our approach would not only benefit patients and their families with improvement in survival, quality of life, caregiver burden, and personal health expenses, but also the healthcare system, with reduced costs related to dialysis, re-transplantation, and improved organ availability.