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Does the environment inside a kidney transplant recipient’s body play a role in transplant success?

16 August 2023

Dr Sadr Shaheed from the University of Oxford has been awarded a Start-Up grant of £31,000 to investigate whether the environment inside a kidney transplant recipient’s body could be linked to the success of a transplant. 

Dr Sadr Shaheed looking in a microscope in the research lab
Dr Sadr Shaheed

“The Kidney Research UK Start-Up Award enables us to investigate how molecular changes in the recipient contribute to a successful kidney transplantation. This novel concept will contribute knowledge to optimise treatment of patients on the waiting list and improve allocation of donor kidneys. We are therefore enormously grateful for this opportunity to push the boundaries of transplant research. Thank you, Kidney Research UK!” Dr Sadr Shaheed

The problem

Having a kidney transplant is the best treatment for kidney failure but there is a shortage of available donor organs. This means it is vital that we do everything we can to make sure the transplants that are able to go ahead have the best possible chance of success. Currently, doctors decide whether to accept an offered donor kidney based mainly on the characteristics of the donor organ 

The solution

Sadr and his team will investigate whether chemical factors inside the recipient’s body may predict whether a transplant is successful. They will analyse blood samples taken from pairs of patients who each received a kidney from the same donor but have experienced different transplant outcomes. The team will look to see if there is a link between the proteins and small molecules that are present in the recipients’ blood, and the success of the transplant. 

What this means for kidney patients

This work will reveal whether the environment inside the patient who is receiving a new kidney affects the chances of transplant success. This information will help doctors to better match donor organs with recipients and may also identify targets for treatments that could better prepare patients before transplant, increasing the chances of more successful transplants. 

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