Exosomes: A Promising Biomarker for Cellular Rejection After Organ Transplant Is Identified in Yale-Led Study

Depiction of Exosome

Today, patients who receive an organ transplant need repeated surgical biopsies to test for acute cellular rejection (ACR) throughout their lifetimes. But a blood test for ACR could be on the horizon following the discovery of a promising biomarker. ACR occurs when a patient’s immune cells, known as T cells, begin attacking the transplanted organ. However, when looking at T cells in blood samples, researchers have not been able to identify any notable differences that arise during organ rejection. Now, a Yale-led team has found that exosomes from T cells are significantly altered during ACR. Exosomes are extracellular vesicles released by cells that allow them to communicate with each other. The researchers published their findings in the March 2024 issue of the American Journal of Transplantation. The article is titledCirculating T Cell Specific Extracellular Vesicle Profiles in Cardiac Allograft Acute Cellular Rejection.” “We’ve developed a novel biomarker platform that shows promise to reliably detect rejection through a blood sample,” says Prashanth Vallabhajosyula, MD, MS, Associate Professor of Surgery (Cardiac), Yale University School of Medicine, and the study’s principal investigator. “As we continue to do more studies in the clinical setting, we hope this biomarker platform will eventually replace surgical biopsy.”

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