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Basel discovery could protect kidney transplants

Basel scientists have discovered that certain white blood cells play an important role in controlling virus multiplication following a kidney transplant. The finding could contribute to the development of relevant therapies.

Basel scientists made an imprtantndiscoverey for kidney transplants. (image: University of Basel)
Basel scientists made an imprtantndiscoverey for kidney transplants. (image: University of Basel)

A research group from the Department of Biomedicine at the University and the University Hospital of Basel has uncovered more about the so-called BK polyomavirus, which affects around 15 per cent of patients following a kidney transplant.

The virus was first identified more than 10 years ago, also by Basel scientists, as the cause of the premature failure of kidney transplants. An effective treatment for BK polyomavirus has not yet been found.

Now, the scientists have analysed the blood of 96 patients – initially immediately after transplant and then six and 12 months later. They discovered that certain white blood cells significantly multiplied in those patients who could bring the virus under control.

“Our findings open up new possibilities for better managing the reduction of immunosuppression and for developing vaccines for an adoptive T cell therapy,” explained Professor Hans H. Hirsch.

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