Experimental research into organ rejection finally possible thanks to new solution

Why are we writing about this topic:

15,000 kidney transplants take place every year in Europe. However, half of the donor kidneys are rejected within 15 years. It often causes serious complications. Thanks to this new method, researchers can, for the first time, conduct experiments around organ rejection to develop better treatments. That’s why Innovation Origins chose this post.

Researchers from King’s College London have successfully modeled transplant rejection in human kidneys. The discovery could allow scientists to investigate new mechanisms for organ rejection outside of the human body and test treatment strategies, the university writes in a paper. Press release.

A major concern after a person receives an organ transplant from a donor is antibody-mediated rejection (AMR), a process in which antibodies in the recipient can cause their immune system to reject and damage the donor organ. This can lead to loss of the transplanted organ and in some cases even death. King’s researchers today published a clinically relevant, reproducible, and translational model of AMR using human kidneys and hot machine perfusion technology, which is believed to be the first.

Establishing experimental models of rejection in humans has been difficult, and as a result, there has been little opportunity for researchers to explore treatments and elucidate new mechanisms that could reduce the risk of these devastating complications. The new model could allow researchers to investigate and test organ-specific targeted therapy.


Researchers can artificially induce and simulate AMR by connecting a human organ (submitted for research purposes) to a bypass machine and circulating warm blood-based solutions throughout the organ, then deliberately adding antibodies, complement, and coagulation factors to the circuit. By doing this, they can take a closer look at the mechanisms of transplant rejection and – hopefully – gain more insight into how this can be avoided.

«Developing an experimental model of human transplant rejection using warm blood-based solutions could allow testing of targeted organ-specific therapy and gain further mechanistic insight into this process,» says lead author of the study, Pankaj Chandak. “Next, we can also investigate repair and regeneration interventions in these rejected, injured organs. This can then hopefully be used to help real patients.” The authors believe that the insights from this model and its setup could also be transferred to other types of solid organ transplants.

Full article published eBioMedicine.

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