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Surprising study could save lives of kidney transplant patients

December 3, 2014

Keeping kidney transplant patients healthy requires a fine balance, because the drugs that prevent transplant rejection can also increase the risk of cancer. Sirolimus was once thought to be a promising new kidney transplant drug, because it seemed to be able to prevent organ rejection without the increased risk of cancer. But a study led by Drs. Greg Knoll and Dean Fergusson shows that while sirolimus does indeed lower the risk of cancer, patients who took the drug were 43% more likely to die overall. The individual patient level meta-analysis included nearly 6,000 kidney transplant patients from 21 trials around the world, and was published in the British Medical Journal. An accompanying editorial called the research “commendable” and highlighted its “meticulous methods”.

Funders: Pfizer

Ottawa Hospital Research Institute


The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute is the research arm of The Ottawa Hospital and is an affiliated institute of the University of Ottawa, closely associated with its faculties of Medicine and Health Sciences. The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute includes more than 1,700 scientists, clinical investigators, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and staff conducting research to improve the understanding, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human disease. Research at Ottawa Hospital Research Institute is supported by The Ottawa Hospital Foundation.

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Paddy Moore
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Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
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