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Blood Test Could Reduce Heart Transplant Biopsies

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American researchers say a blood test that analyzes genetic activity could reduce the number of biopsies heart transplant patients must undergo to monitor for signs of organ rejection.

"I think it will cause a paradigm shift in the way we look at monitoring for rejection," said Dr. Michael Pham, a clinical assistant professor of cardiovascular medicine at Stanford University and a leader of the study.

Patients who were monitored using the AlloMap blood test had outcomes similar to patients who underwent frequent heart biopsies, The New York Times reported.

The study, to be presented Thursday at the annual meeting of the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation, appears online in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The study was paid for by XDx, the California company that developed the blood test. Some authors of the study received consulting fees from the company, and one researcher was an employee of XDx, The Times reported.

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