Taking rejection out of organ transplant operations

July 31, 2013, CORDIS
Taking rejection out of organ transplant operations
Credit: Shutterstock

Organ transplant operations save lives. But for recipients, treatment does not end with an operation - they must take medication for the rest of their lives.

The EU-funded project ONE Study ('A unified approach to evaluating cellular in solid ') is looking to change this through cell therapy - using cells themselves to stop a donor recipient's body from attacking the transplanted organ.

Since the first successful operation in 1954, the procedure has saved many people from death and improved the quality of their lives. Scientists realised early on that such operations require more than simply replacing a damaged organ with another - the recipient's immune system sees the new organ as a foreign invader, and quickly attacks it. White blood cells eventually destroy the organ in a process known as rejection.

The very first successful kidney transplant operation worked because the donated kidney came from the patient's identical twin. While this was a breakthrough, it was not a solution - not everyone has an identical twin with organs to spare.

The next breakthrough came in the 1960s, when doctors realised that they could prevent by suppressing the patient's immune system. The same technique is used today. While it undoubtedly saves lives, the system is far from perfect. Immunosuppressant drugs reduce the patient's resistance to infections, have been linked to cancer, and can have other unwanted side effects. Patients also face a lifetime of taking drugs, which is not only inconvenient, but very costly.

The ONE Study team is looking to cell therapy for the solution. The researchers are currently developing a series of cells (haematopoietic ) potentially able to regulate the . The next step will be to test the cells on donor patients.

The tests will be carried out in Regensburg and Berlin (Germany), Nantes (France), Milan (Italy) and London and Oxford (UK). Data will be sent to one place for analysis in order to minimise variability in testing. The results will be used for a direct comparison of the feasibility, safety, cost and 'promise of effect' of each cell type.

By translating basic cell therapy research into clinical utility and deepening knowledge of how different immunoregulatory cells work, the ONE Study will also pave the way for other medical research, as will the development of new technologies for sorting and tracking cells, which are needed for cell-based therapies in general.

The hope is that this project will lead to cell therapy products for further clinical tests and eventual exploitation - ultimately reducing the need for immunosuppressive drugs in organ transplant recipients.

Explore further: Dendritic cell therapy improves kidney transplant survival, study says

More information: www.onestudy.org/

Related Stories

Dendritic cell therapy improves kidney transplant survival, study says

June 28, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—A single systemic dose of special immune cells prevented rejection for almost four months in a preclinical animal model of kidney transplantation, according to experts at the University of Pittsburgh School ...

New transplant method may allow kidney recipients to live life free of anti-rejection medication

March 7, 2012
New ongoing research published today in the journal Science Translational Medicine suggests organ transplant recipients may not require anti-rejection medication in the future thanks to the power of stem cells, which may ...

Irradiation and stem cells used in new treatment to enable kidney recipients to forego immunosuppressant drugs

March 8, 2012
With a novel approach that creates a more-accepting immune system, Stanford School of Medicine physicians have pioneered a technique that frees kidney-transplant recipients from a life on anti-rejection drugs.

Promising breakthrough for transplant patients

February 27, 2013
A team led by Dr. Marie-Josée Hébert from the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM) has discovered a new cause of organ rejection in some kidney transplant patients. Her team has identified a new class ...

Transplant experts challenge assumption, describe pathway that leads to organ rejection

May 15, 2013
Transplant researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine challenge a long-held assumption about how biologic pathways trigger immune system rejection of donor organs in a report published online today in ...

Antibody response linked with rejection in pediatric kidney transplant recipients

February 28, 2013
A transplanted kidney has a finite life expectancy because it often becomes the target of the recipient's immune system, which may mount antibodies that attack the organ. Because there is a critical need to extend the life ...

Recommended for you

Improving vaccines for the elderly by blocking inflammation

January 22, 2018
By identifying why skin immunity declines in old age, a UCL-led research team has found that an anti-inflammatory pill could help make vaccines more effective for elderly people.

Novel genomic tools provide new insight into human immune system

January 19, 2018
When the body is under attack from pathogens, the immune system marshals a diverse collection of immune cells to work together in a tightly orchestrated process and defend the host against the intruders. For many decades, ...

Genomics reveals key macrophages' involvement in systemic sclerosis

January 18, 2018
A new international study has made an important discovery about the key role of macrophages, a type of immune cell, in systemic sclerosis (SSc), a chronic autoimmune disease which currently has no cure.

First vaccine developed against grass pollen allergy

January 18, 2018
Around 400 million people worldwide suffer in some form or other from a grass pollen allergy (rhinitis), with the usual symptoms of runny nose, cough and severe breathing problems. In collaboration with the Viennese firm ...

Researchers discover key driver of atopic dermatitis

January 17, 2018
Severe eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that is driven by an allergic reaction. In their latest study, researchers at La Jolla Institute reveal an important player that promotes ...

Who might benefit from immunotherapy? New study suggests possible marker

January 16, 2018
While immunotherapy has made a big impact on cancer treatment, the fact remains that only about a quarter of patients respond to these treatments.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.