New research has shown that a blood test could help doctors to detect lung transplant rejections before symptoms appear.
A lung transplant is a complex operation with a high risk of complications. A common problem is rejection, where a person’s immune system attacks the transplanted lung. Knowing if a person is at risk of rejection early on could mean that doctors are able to act to prevent or slow down the process.
This new study, published in EBioMedicine, involved 106 people who had had a lung transplant. Each participant was monitored for lung transplant rejections or other related health issues.
The scientists also collected blood samples from them for the first three months after the operation. They used these samples to measure a type of DNA released when cells die (cell-free DNA), which happens when an organ like the lung is injured.
The study showed that people with more of this cell-free DNA had a much higher risk of lung transplant rejection than those with lower amounts of it.
The researchers believe that this finding could lead to the development of a blood test to help doctors check for very early signs of lung transplant rejection, but more research is needed.
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