Following transplantation, additional immunologic monitoring at Columbia University Medical Center allows us to assign categories of risk for subsequent organ rejection according to the patient's immunologic profile. This enables the transplant physician to adjust the patient's immunosuppressive medication, or intervene with new regimens, prior to a rejection episode taking place.
Our ability to predict risks of rejection based on our immunologic risk profile testing further enables patient participation in clinical trials of new immunosuppressive agents. For instance, we are actively testing Zenapax, a monoclonal antibody against IL2-receptors. Through such clinical studies, we are able to gain information on the effect of such agents on immune parameters and identify which selected patient groups, those with high or low risk for rejection, will derive the most benefit from adding a new agent to their current regimen, or from substituting a new, more benign agent for an older, more toxic one.
By further refining the immunologic risk profiles we can reduce the number and frequency of invasive monitoring procedures such as endomyocardial biopsy. Employing an increasing arsenal of screenings, immunosuppressant agents, and rejection monitoring techniques, the cardiac transplantation immunologists work closely with the transplant physicians at NYP/Columbia to implement established and novel anti-rejection therapies for our patients.