Transplantation and Regenerative Medicine

Professor Andrew Bradley

andrew bradleyTransplantation is still a relatively recent phenomenon with many of its key advances happening within the past forty years. A surgical transplant involves removing organs or tissues from one person and replacing them with corresponding ones from another part of that person's body or from another person.

It is one of the most challenging and complex areas of modern medicine and raises a number of bioethical issues, including the definition of death, when and how consent should be given for an organ to be transplanted and payment for organs for transplantation.

The growth in transplantation stems primarily from the outcomes of a research strategy that is addressing the two major clinical problems, namely the severe shortage of available organs for transplantation and chronic graft rejection along with the side effects of non-specific immunosuppression. Another advance has been the ability to preserve organs out of the body for longer periods of time until they can be transplanted.

These days transplants save and improve the lives of over 3000 patients every year in the UK. Unfortunately donor organs are scarce, which has led to ethical decisions concerning which patients would most benefit from receiving a transplant.

Researchers at the Cambridge BRC Transplantation theme align strong programmes of basic research, particularly in stem cell biology and transplant immunology, with the internationally renowned multi-organ abdominal transplant centre at Addenbrooke's Hospital, as well as with other cognate clinical services.

Our major goals are to address the severe shortage of human organs available for transplantation and to improve transplant outcomes.

BRC funding has been used to support new translational studies in stem cell biology and immunology, and to provide core infrastructural support (including clinical trial nurses, a data collection manager and research PA's for transplant clinicians) to enable translational studies in transplantation. This has had a transformational effect on the ability of the theme to deliver translational research.

I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the vital contribution made by Cambridge BioResource which continues to help recruit our volunteers.

Professor Andrew Bradley jab52@cam.ac.uk
May 2011

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