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With funding from Kidney Research UK, a team of researchers from the University of Oxford, the University of Nottingham and University College London will develop ways to assess donor kidneys and predict how well they will work after transplant.

Female researcher in lab with microscope in foreground © Medical Sciences Division and John Cairns

Having a kidney transplant is the best treatment for kidney failure, but the demand for donated kidneys is high.

To save more lives, doctors are accepting kidneys from older or higher risk donors. These kidneys may work less well after transplantation. But this can be devastating as people receiving them may need to rgo back on dialysis, and wait for another transplant.

Right now, doctors cannot accurately assess donor kidneys and predict how well a transplant will work or how long a kidney will last after it is transplanted.

Thanks to the Kidney Research UK grant award of £237,626, in partnership with the Stoneygate Trust, the ADMIRE study ‘Assessing Donor kidneys and Monitoring Transplant REcipients’ aims to address this clinical challenge. 

Dr Maria Kaisar from Oxford University's Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences (NDS) is the Principal Investigator on the study and leads a team of co-Investigators from NDS (Professor Rutger Ploeg, Dr Edward Sharples, Mr Simon Knight, Mr James Hunter and Dr Sadr Shaheed), the Oxford Big Data Institute (Dr Alberto Sandos and Dr Philip Charles) and the Radcliffe Department of Medicine (Dr Elizabeth Tunnicliffe)

Predicting the best kidneys for transplant

Dr Kaisar and her team at NDS will utilise the Oxford Transplant Biobank (OTB) and the Quality in Organ Donation (QUOD) biobank to look for marker proteins in blood samples from donors and use them to develop a mathematical model to predict how well donor kidneys will work after transplantation.

This funding will enable us to bring scientific and clinical expertise together and in collaboration develop novel non-invasive methods to better assess donor kidneys and predict how well a transplant will work in the recipient - Dr Maria Kaisar

The model would mean doctors could accurately assess kidneys and only transplant those that will function well. It could identify suitable kidneys previously deemed too high risk to transplant.

With Professors Sue Francis and David Long from the University of Nottingham and University College London, the NDS team will use the QUOD X platform to also develop MRI scanning methods to perform both on the donor organ before it is transplanted and later on the recipient to monitor how well the transplanted organ is functioning.

“I am absolutely delighted that our study received this funding award by Kidney Research UK in partnership with The Stoneygate Trust,” said Dr Kaisar. “This funding will enable us to bring scientific and clinical expertise together and in collaboration develop novel non-invasive methods to better assess donor kidneys and predict how well a transplant will work in the recipient. We also envisage that our planned scientific work will offer many opportunities to our early career scientists to further develop their skills and research expertise in studying kidney disease."

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