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Cambridge Immunology Network


Understanding and minimising transplant rejection

Organ transplantation involves the transfer of an organ from one person to another. Transplantation is performed to replace the recipient's damaged or failing organ with a functional one.

A barrier to succesful outcome of this treatment is that the recipient's immune system will often reject the organ or tissue grafts.

Advances in transplantation immunology have led to the development of drugs capable of suppressing the immune response that causes a transplant to be rejected. However, although these drugs permit excellent short-term survival of the graft they do not provide any significant long-term survival. Furthermore, these immunosuppressant drugs are so powerful that they can prevent the immune system from generally protecting the body from infections and cancer.

Transplant immunological research is currently trying to develop ways of helping the immune system tolerate transplants without preventing the immune system from doing its main job of protecting the body from invading pathogens. Research has also found that some patients have a lower risk of rejecting transplants than others. Therefore, developing the means to identify these two groups remains a high priority.

Dr Jason  Ali
Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Training Fellow
Dr Menna   Clatworthy
University Lecturer in Transplantation Medicine
Mr Gavin  Pettigrew
Reader in clinical and experimental transplantation
Director of Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics
Consultant Clinical Scientist