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August 10th, 2017

TOGETHER TRIAL–An individualized strategy for stopping organ rejection

By Colette Gallagher

Mayo Clinic's Center for Individualized Medicine is collaborating with a molecular diagnostics company to monitor patients after an organ transplant and improve the efficacy of immunosuppressant drugs by tailoring treatment to an individual's genome.

The effectiveness of immunosuppressant drugs is governed by a number of factors, but a major contributor is an individual's genome. The genes that make up each person's genome direct how a drug is metabolized and how it stimulates the immune system to accept the transplant.

While these drugs help a transplanted organ continue to function, they tax the rest of the body. For transplant patients, it is essential to understand the appropriate regimen of anti-rejection medications. Mayo Clinic's Center for Individualized Medicine is collaborating with a molecular diagnostics company to monitor patients after an organ transplant and improve the efficacy of these drugs by tailoring the treatment to an individual's genome through the TOGETHER trial. The initial focus is on immunosuppressant therapies for 250 kidney transplant recipients.

"Genomic analysis of blood can reveal early signs of rejection in transplanted kidneys," says principal researcher Mark D. Stegall, M.D., the James C. Masson Professor of Surgery. "The potential clinical utility is to be able to monitor for rejection more frequently than is possible with surveillance biopsies and to individualize immunosuppression in transplant recipients."

Among this study cohort, kidney transplant patients will have genomic testing at five intervals throughout their first postoperative year. These data points may help transplant care teams fine tune immunosuppression drug regimens and improve patient outcomes.

"The promise of individualized medicine is that we can now use information found in a patient's own genetic code to provide better, more personalized answers about their medical care. Through important efforts such as the TOGETHER trial, we can and will make that promise more of a reality for our transplant patients," says Alexander S. Parker, Ph.D., the Cecilia and Dan Carmichael Family Associate Director for the Center for Individualized Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida.

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If the science and medical practice of individualized medicine are of professional or personal interest to you, consider attending the Individualizing Medicine Conference, October 9-10, 2017, in Rochester, Minnesota.

You can find out about more clinical trials on Mayo's clinical trials website.

Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to clinical practice, education and research, providing expert, whole-person care to everyone who needs healing. This article was originally featured on the philanthropic site "You Are...the campaign for Mayo Clinic."

 

Tags: About, Alexander Parker, Center for Individualized Medicine, clinical trial, Individualizing Medicine Conference, kidney transplant, Mark Stegall, Opportunities, research, TOGETHER trial

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