Gene Test May Replace Some Heart Biopsies

NEW YORK, April 29 (UPI) — U.S. medical researchers say a blood test can safely reduce the need for invasive heart muscle biopsies in heart transplantation patients.

The genetic test was co-developed by New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center physician-scientist Dr. Mario Deng in 2005. Now a multicenter study has determined the gene expression test called AlloMap molecular expression testing is safe and results in significantly fewer biopsies.

“The genomics revolution initiated by the completion of the Human Genome Project has made possible what was only dreamed about before — namely the ability to improve patient care by ruling out rejection without taking an invasive heart tissue sample,” Deng said.

The research is reported in the early online edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.

A study by Deng and postdoctoral scientist Khurram Shahzad that centered on how the biological activity of white blood cell genes is linked to rejection in the transplanted heart is to appear in a future edition of the Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation.

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