The risk of kidney damage in liver transplant cases can be drastically reduced if patients are given a new combination of drugs, a study shows.
Approximately one in five of those who have liver transplants are likely to develop kidney failure within five years of their operation due to the toxic effects of the immunosuppressant drugs they are given to prevent rejection.
The 12-month study of more than 500 transplant patients shows that a particular treatment combination reduces signs of kidney damage by 44%, and the need for renal support by 50%.
Results from the Elite RESPECT trial were presented at the European Society for Organ Transplantation Congress in Prague.
One of the investigators, Dr James Neuberger, consultant physician at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, UK, said: “This is promising news for liver transplant patients, offering them the chance of a new liver and reducing the risk of renal damage in the short and long term.
“The study results provide useful and important information for doctors in determining the best immunosuppressant combination and optimise the long-term life and performance of the donated liver, while helping preventing rejection and minimising the toxic effects of immunosuppression.”
Tim Stratham, chief executive of the UK National Kidney Federation, said: “To maintain the health of a kidney is a golden target, and is another patient less on dialysis or on the patient waiting list.”
The experimental treatment regime included the drugs mycophenolate mofetil, corticosteroids and low-dose tacrolimus.
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