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Transplantation Research Integration across Europe

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New horizons for organ transplantation

A set of recommendations in cell and organ transplantation can propel this important medical field to higher ground and save lives in the process.


Organ transplantation has the potential to save lives and give renewed hope to thousands of people, but it is often mired by complications such as organ rejection. Nonetheless, recent advances in the field, particularly in immunology, have introduced novel tools for diagnosis, as well as new immunosuppressive agents and smart ways to predict tolerance or rejection. The EU-funded project 'Transplantation research integration across Europe' (TRIE) aspired to develop a united approach for transplants in Europe. It coordinated medical practitioners, academia, patients and industry to address issues jointly and effectively. The project probed key themes on cell and organ transplantation to further novel clinical therapies, supported by a survey of stakeholders from 18 countries and a workshop of 60 experts. The first of three key project themes focused on biomarkers for donors and recipients to define risk profiles and customise transplant therapies in stem cell and solid organ transplantation. This involved identifying valid biomarkers, establishing biobanking facilities, streamlining data collection and strengthening biostatistics, in addition to addressing ethical and regulatory issues. The second theme studied novel cell-based therapies for transplantation and addressed standardisation of cell therapy protocols to improve regulatory issues and encourage industry investment in the field. To this end, the project suggested development of cell therapy products for solid organ transplantation with the backing of industry in order to ensure that products are translated into clinical application down the line. The third and last theme focused on innovative training for physicians, scientists and research staff related to cell and solid organ transplantation. It called for establishing a training network in association with major scientific societies and industry, facilitating exchanges between the pharmaceutical industry and research. If these recommendations are fully implemented, the EU can upgrade organ transplants across the continent, save lives and become a leader in the field, thanks to the new synergies created.

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