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NIAID's Role in Transplantation Research

NIAID supports basic, preclinical, and clinical immunological research and research resources to improve health, prolong survival, and enhance quality of life for transplant recipients.

The major priorities of NIAID-supported research in transplantation include the following:

  • Increase understanding of the immune response to transplanted organs, tissues, and cells

  • Develop and evaluate new strategies for modifying the immune response to promote transplant success

  • Develop tolerance-induction approaches for transplanted organs and tissues

  • Identify and evaluate genetic variations in recipients and donors that affect transplant outcomes

  • Evaluate and modify risk factors for transplant rejection

  • Identify early markers of transplant rejection

  • Identify the causes of graft failure and develop prevention and treatment strategies

  • Eliminate or reduce the need for immunosuppressive drugs

The following NIAID-supported research addresses these priorities:

  • Clinical trials, with associated studies of immunologic mechanisms, that

    • Implement strategies to induce immune tolerance and minimize the use of immunosuppressive drugs

    • Test new treatment regimens to prevent or treat transplant rejection

    • Improve donor-recipient genetic matching

    • Identify biomarkers for the diagnosis and prediction of transplant rejection and other transplant outcomes

  • Preclinical research in large animal models to develop and assess the safety and efficacy of novel therapeutic strategies, including induction of immunologic tolerance, for transplant recipients

  • Research to advance the understanding of physiological and immunological barriers to xenotransplantation (transplanting organs, tissues, or cells from one species into another)

  • Studies to identify donor and recipient characteristics, such as genetic factors, that increase or decrease the risk of graft rejection and other transplant-related outcomes

  • Basic research on innate and adaptive immunity in graft rejection and acceptance

  • Research on associations between human leukocyte antigens and related genetic regions on transplantation outcome and immune-mediated diseases

Last Updated July 23, 2012

Last Reviewed July 23, 2012