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Liz Wallin, a DPhil student in the Transplantation Research Immunology Group (TRIG), is leading an exciting new three-year study on transplant failure. The study centres around 60 kidney transplant patients from Central and South West England and could be the first step towards extending the lifespan of kidney transplants.

Dphil student searches for new ways to make transplants last longer

By analysing blood and tissue samples in the lab and comparing them with clinical data such as new kidney function and possible episodes of infection and rejection, Liz hopes her work will enable her and others to understand better the processes that may cause transplant rejection. Eventually, her work could also lead to new ways to predict who may be at risk of transplant failure.

'One of the best ways of treating end-stage kidney disease is to perform a kidney transplant,' explains Liz, who is carrying out her research under the supervision of Professor Kathryn Wood. 'However, kidney transplants do not last forever, and one of the biggest problems we face is rejection. This is where the body's immune system recognises the transplant as being different to itself, and attacks it as if it were a virus or bacterium. This can occur early after the transplant and is usually easily treatable, but we are recognising that when it occurs later on it can shorten the lifespan of the transplant.'

Liz is supported by Kidney Research UK (KRUK). Her research project and its implications is featured in the summer 2015 issue of the KRUK magazine on page 5. You can also read the full article on the KRUK website.

To find out more about the Transplantation Research Immunology Group visit the TRIG webpages.