The University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) participates in a worldwide collaboration to improve the outcomes of organ transplantation. Research institutes from 12 countries are collecting DNA data of all patients who have received a kidney, heart, liver or lung transplant.
Under the name iGeneTRAiN (International Genetics & Translational Research in Transplantation Network) the researchers want to trace mechanisms that cause rejection or malfunction of organs. The research is led by the UMC Utrecht and the University of Pennsylvania in the US. The UMC Groningen participate with data of more than 1.000 kidney transplant patients from the Biobank Transplantlines, where patients with a transplant organ are followed during 30 days.
Since 2000, more than a million transplantations have been conducted worldwide, 13.000 in the Netherlands. Despite the improved surgery and more effective medicine, the chance that bodies reject new organs are still very high. About 60 percent of the patients will reject their new organ on short or long terms. This has a large influence on the survival rate. It has already been known for many years that genetic differences between the donor and the receiver have a large impact on the success of the transplantation. The chance of success is the largest on type HLA, a protein that is present in mostly all body cells. But even if the HLA-type matches, there remains a chance of organ rejection. Which factors are responsible is unclear.