Intravascular coagulopathy in discordant xenotransplantation [ 2004 - 2007 ]

Also known as: Blood clots prevent successful pig-to-human transplants.

Research Grant

[Cite as]

Researchers: Prof Anthony D'Apice (Principal investigator) ,  A/Pr Mark Nottle Prof Harshal Nandurkar Prof Peter Cowan

Brief description The successful treatment of many conditions in which the relevant organ has failed completely and irreversibly is to replace that organ with a new one ie. to perform a transplant. It is well known that there are far fewer organs available for transplantation than the number needed. This means that for those conditions where a supportive treatment is available, eg. the artificial kidney, patients must be maintained by that method, however for other organs such as hearts, lungs and livers, there is no mechanical substitute. If these patients do not receive a transplant, they die. A solution to this problem is to use organs from animals. This is called xenotransplantation. The pig is the most suitable donor, however despite many similarities to humans which make it suitable, there are many differences which are still to be overcome before clinical application is possible. These differences are at a very fine molecular level and prevent the normal integration of the organ into the new recipient. The result is that the new organ is rejected within minutes. This process is called hyperacute rejection and by research into its mechanism it was found to be due to just a few differences. We and others have genetically modified pigs so that they have the human components and this has completely prevented this form of rejection. However,we have found a second barrier which causes a rejection response after a few days. It is now known that a major component of the cause of this second barrier is a few differences in the clotting system. We propose to make further genetic modifications which we think will prevent this rejection. This project proposes to examine various genetic modifications and test their effect in small animal models before going on to make and test pigs in which human anti-clotting genes have been inserted. . If we are successful, the possibility of replacing failed human organs with animal organs will be a step closer.

Funding Amount $AUD 447,750.00

Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants

Notes Standard Project Grant

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