A researcher has found that new technology may be paving the way for scientists to ensure that heart transplant patients will experience a better outcome after their surgery.
Michael Mengel, a pathology researcher with the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, has discovered how to analyze biopsies by looking at a heart transplant patient’s genes. As a result, Mengel is able to distinguish whether or not the surgery has worked. This is especially important because in order for these types of patients to have a positive outcome after their transplant, a biopsy of their heart tissue must be conducted.
By using gene chip technology, it allows Mengel to look at all of the 54,000 human genes that are involved with a heart transplant biopsy. He can then reduce the thousands of genes to about a dozen single numbers so that a more in-depth analysis can be examined. This new approach allows doctors to assess changes in the heart tissue, such as organ rejection.
With this method, pathologists will be able to tell much earlier if a heart transplant patient is accepting or rejecting their new organ.
New approaches, such as Mengel’s, may be essential to ensure a patient’s experience is a healthy outcome. According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, about 300 individuals are on the waiting list to receive a heart transplant, on any given day.