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Protein ‘can double kidney’s life’


A donated kidney’s lifespan could be doubled through the use of a new protein drug, according to scientists.

Mirococept blocks damaging inflammatory reactions by sticking to the kidney’s blood vessels “like paint”, according to King’s College London’s Medical Research Council centre.

The drug not only helps kidneys survive after transplants but can preserve the organs while they are being taken to the operating rooms, preliminary research results indicate.

Trials conducted with 16 kidney patients have been deemed a success and another 300 patients will be tested on the discovery.

Mirococept could be ready for general use in four years.

The UK’s supply and demand of donor kidneys do not match: around 7,000 people required a kidney transplant last year but only 2,694 got one.

Mirococept is created from a protective protein known as a “complement regulator”, which controls an important section of the immune system. The new molecule has been given a synthetic tail which allows it to stick to the walls of blood cells.

The research was discussed at Aston University’s British Festival of Science in Birmingham.

Copyright Press Association 2010

King’s College MRC centre

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