New research predicts which kidney transplant recipients need more, less medications to better protect the new organ

July 20, 2017 – Winnipeg, MB – Manitoba-led research is bringing personalized medicine for kidney transplant recipients within reach and the team credits the province’s centralized healthcare system and support from key partners like the Health Sciences Centre Foundation and Research Manitoba for making it possible.

“Manitoba is well-positioned to do innovative work in the field of precision medicine,” said Dr. Chris Wiebe, a nephrologist at Transplant Manitoba. “Our ability to link patient outcome data with laboratory data throughout their clinical course optimizes how we care for patients.”

In a paper published today in the world’s leading kidney journal – the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN)  – Transplant Manitoba’s clinical team based at HSC Winnipeg has discovered how to better predict which patients require more or less medication to control their immune system and better protect the transplanted kidney. Their work determined that the degree of mismatch in the tissue type between the donor and the recipient, when studied at the molecular level, provides such a method.

“Manitoba’s centralized care model combined with the province’s single lab system has created an environment where precision medicine can flourish,” said Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Kelvin Goertzen. “With the support of the Health Sciences Centre Foundation’s investments in research, Manitoba physicians are making a real difference for kidney transplant patients and their important research can only further improve the care they receive.”

Manitoba is a leader in kidney transplantation. Since 1969, over 1,500 kidney transplants have been performed by the adult program and the pediatric program combined. Both programs were the first to introduce surveillance biopsy programs that has led to their adoption in many countries worldwide, and established Winnipeg as a centre of excellence in translational research.

“As Manitoba’s hospital, research and innovation is a core strategic priority for HSC Winnipeg,” said Dr. Eric Jacobsohn, Medical Director of Research, HSC Winnipeg. “Our commitment to the community is “Patients First” and this research is a prime example of striving to provide the best care possible to each and every patient.”

“Research is the key to finding new discoveries that make a positive difference for all of us in the future,” said Jonathan Lyon, President and Chief Executive Officer, Health Sciences Centre Foundation. “The HSC Foundation is proud of the funds raised to support research and with the support of Manitobans, we continue helping to develop and expand research and healthcare at HSC Winnipeg.”

Dr. Wiebe, Internal Medicine, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba, is a new investigator and is supported by Research Manitoba, the lead provincial agency that promotes, supports, and coordinates the funding of, research in the health, natural and social sciences, engineering and the humanities in Manitoba.