Transplantation dramatically improves the survival of patients with end-stage failure of vital organs. However, as a directconsequence of the immunosuppressive drugs permanently required to prevent rejection, recipients have a significantly increased risk of infection and malignancies. Moreover, these drugs are expensive, do not prevent long-term damage of the graft, and exert toxic effects outside the immune system. The induction of transplant tolerance, defined as permanent acceptance of the graft in absence of continuous immunosuppression, would be a major step forward. Recent advances in post-genomic immunology suggest that this goal is achievable in a near future. Indeed, new biotechnology products have been shown to promote long-term transplant acceptance in pre-clinical models. RISET will focus on the translation of these advances into industrial development and clinical practice. First, diagnostic tests to identify transplanted patients for whom immunosuppressive treatment could be safely minimized or withdrawn will be developed. These tests will be applied to patients under conventional treatment as well as to patients enrolled in pilot clinical investigations based on cellular products with potential for tolerance induction. Because of the nature of this research, effective communication with patient organizations and regulatory bodies will be organized, and related ethical and societal questions will be specifically addressed. In parallel, relevant models of tolerance will be used to identify new genes, molecules or cell types that will form the basis for novel diagnostics and therapeutic approaches. The exploitation of the knowledge created in RISET will be facilitated by the building of an industrial platform. In order to exploit innovative concepts emerging outside the consortium, RISET will be open to new industrial or academic partners for which a budget has been provisioned. An external advisory board will monitor the progress.
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Funding SchemeIP - Integrated Project
Hospitalet De Ll. (Barcelona)