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30 Years of Scientific Innovation >> Examples of our Scientific Innovations >> Protecting Transplant Patients and Saving Lives

Protecting Transplant Patients and Saving Lives

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Immunity at the Heart of the Matter

Surgeons worldwide perform more than 100,000 solid organ transplants annually, with successful transplantation of hearts, lungs, livers and kidneys saving and changing thousands of lives. After complex surgery, the risks of infection and organ rejection mean the patient’s fight for recovery starts immediately; even anti-rejection medication can lead to serious adverse effects. Eurofins’ work in immunity is helping to change patient recovery outcomes.

Adverse reactions that can hamper patient recovery are managed by understanding the exact state of a patient’s immune cell function and using that knowledge to balance the immune system. Experts at Eurofins Viracor developed ImmuKnow® assay, a test that provides a biomarker to help doctors to evaluate a patient’s existing immunity levels and to optimise treatment.

In 2015, a study published in Transplantation showed that Viracor’s assay improves outcomes in solid organ transplant patients. The study showed that not only was ImmuKnow® able to detect the level of immunity provided by cells in immunesuppressed patients, but it ultimately improved patient survival rates by helping to optimise immunesuppression. This benefit is critical when balancing the risk of organ rejection caused by insufficient suppression and the risk of infection caused by excessive suppression.

The study also showed that using ImmuKnow® in solid organ transplant patients helped decrease bacterial and fungal infections, particularly in the critical two-week post-surgery period. It also reduced immunosuppressant drug use and improved patient survival by 13% in the first year posttransplant. ImmuKnow® is cleared for use by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Eurofins Viracor has developed additional, innovative tests with fast, accurate results to help surgeons care for their transplant patients. It now works with approximately 60% of US transplant programmes and has earned its leading position in the field.

Eurofins is deeply committed to contributing positively to global health. With technological and medical advances leading to continual increases in the number of transplant operations occurring worldwide, Eurofins is focused on the development of further specialised and fast-turnaround tests that will play an important role in patient outcomes.

The science behind

ImmuKnow® is an immune cell function assay that detects cell-mediated immunity in an immunosuppressed population by measuring the concentration of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) synthesis from CD4 cells following stimulation. The technology combines cell stimulation, cell selection, and quantification of metabolic markers (ATP) to measure cell-mediated immunity. Since the CD4 lymphocytes orchestrate cell-mediated immunity responses through immunoregulatory signalling, the measurement of CD4 activation reflects the degree of immune function.