Dr Hassan Al Malki, Chairman of the First Qatar Nephrology Conference in Qatar and head of the Nephrology Department at HMC (third left) and Dr Award Rashed, Senior Consultant, Nephrology Department at HMC (right) with other dignitaries during the opening of the conference.
By Fazeena Saleem
DOHA: Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) together with its partners is likely to start a research laboratory to examine a new, non-invasive method to detect early signs of acute renal transplant rejection using genetic analysis of urine samples.
Currently, the standard method for detecting acute rejection is an invasive needle biopsy of the allograft.
Researches at the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York with the support of Qatar National Research Fund and HMC have developed the new urine test. It has been developed over the past 20 years and tested on 500 patients.
The research laboratory in Qatar would be established in three to five years, said experts at theNephrology Conference held by the HMC yesterday at Hilton Hotel.
“This non-invasive test is a good substitute for allograft needle biopsy, it could be done repeatedly without any inconvenience to the patient, it’s easy and safer than the traditional invasive needle biopsy of the allograft,” said Dr Manikkam Suthanthiran, who is the chief researcher of the team which developed the non-invasive method at the Nephrology Division at Weill Cornell.
He is a guest speaker at the conference and also the head of Department for Transplantation Medicine at New York-Presbyterian Hospital (NewYork Weill Cornell Medical Centre).
Acute rejection is a serious and frequent complication of renal transplantation, and its diagnosis is contingent on the invasive procedure of allograft biopsy. A non-invasive diagnostic test for rejection could improve the outcome of transplantation, said Dr Suthanthiran.
“We are working with the Hamad Medical Corporation to set up a research laboratory in Qatar. It will need another three to five years of work,” he said.
The laboratory would be an advantage with the advancing cases of dialysis patients or organ transplant, said Dr Hassan Al Malki, Chairman of conference and Head of Nephrology Department at HMC.
Meanwhile, HMC is also planning to start a study on whether vitamin D may help prevent kidney diseases in people with high risk.
“We are planning to test 300 Qatari and non-Qatari patients,” said Dr Al Malki.
The conference was held as part of HMC’s efforts to upgrade services and exchange expertise on providing better treatment to patients as about 500 patients suffering from kidney failure are undergoing dialysis at the HMC and another 500 chronic cases are added to the list every year.
Around 15 nephrology experts from several countries shared their experience and expertise at the two-day conference, which concluded yesterday.