MUSC researchers awarded $3.1M for research to improve graft survival for African American kidney transplant recipients

July 10, 2023
Dr Taber

While kidney transplant remains the best treatment option for end-stage renal disease, differences in outcomes exist among different racial and ethnic groups. African Americans have worse 5-year graft outcomes and are twice as likely to experience graft loss as compared to Whites.

David Taber, PharmD, MS is the principal investigator on a $3.1M National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIH/NIDDK) study that aims to demonstrate an effective and efficient multimodal approach to improve long-term outcomes in African American kidney recipients while reducing health disparities. 

The new study builds on two previous studies led by Taber. The first study assessed a technology-enabled, pharmacist-led intervention aimed at improving medication safety outcomes in kidney transplant recipients. A mobile health app and a comprehensive kidney transplant medication-monitoring dashboard were developed, tested, and found to be feasible and acceptable to patients. Once the proof of concept was developed and tested, Taber and his team conducted a single-center, 12-month, randomized controlled clinical trial funded by an AHRQ R18 grant. The study demonstrated that the pharmacist-led, mobile health-based intervention improved medication safety and reduced hospitalizations in kidney transplant recipients.

;For more than four decades, researchers have been aware of racial disparities in patient outcomes in kidney transplantation,” said Taber. “At MUSC, we have completed research identifying the main causes of this disparity and offering promising solutions. And we demonstrated that pharmacist-led mhealth intervention is effective for patients within two-years post-transplant. Now we can expand on the AHRQ funded study with this large-scale, randomized clinical trial that studies patients who are beyond  two-years post-transplant.”  

At MUSC, my goal has been finding opportunities to stay engaged with post-transplant patients through mobile health enabled interventions to improve patient outcomes,” said Taber. “While most transplant centers across the U.S. do a great job of following patients for the first-year post-transplant, when we send the patient back to their community for routine follow-up, some patients will encounter barriers to optimal care.”

In this study, once the patients are back in their communities, they will use a mhealth app to record key medical indicators of graft survival success, such as monitoring their blood pressure and medication adherence. The app also provides motivational messages to help patients stay on track. The MUSC Health clinical team will monitor the patients using a dashboard and a clinician can intervene with telehealth visits when needed. Taber says a more thoughtful approach with this health care team model provides resources for patients living in low-resource areas.

This R01 allows us to investigate more long-term solutions to improve graft survival in the African American kidney transplant population, thereby reducing health disparities,” said Taber. “By streamlining our workflow, we can enable providers to manage these patients long-term, thereby reducing health disparities.”