Researchers and clinicians from around the country gathered on Monday November 19th in Manchester for the Fifth Annual QUOD Symposium. The Symposium is the primary opportunity each year for collaborators in the Quality in Organ Donation initiative to learn about research completed and upcoming plans to develop the program.
This year’s programme included updates on the development of whole organ atlases from our Newcastle University partners, James Shaw (pancreas), Gavin Richardson (heart), and Bill Scott (lungs). Maria Kaisar (NHSBT-University of Oxford) provided a summary of the research conducted across several QUOD projects to identify biomarkers.
The consortium was also pleased to welcome two new specialists for additional perspectives on the value and future possibilities for QUOD-related research. Susan Francis (University of Nottingham) provided an overview of the research undertaken by the UK Renal Imaging Network and some initial proposals on how whole-organ imaging can play a role in QUOD’s mission to enable better assessment of organs for transplant. New QUOD Steering Committee member Dan Harvey (Nottingham University Hospitals) shared perspective on ‘QUOD in the ICU’ and the long-term research potential that could be unlocked by linking QUOD data with other health-related data collected elsewhere in the treatment pathway.
This year’s Symposium also coincided with a major update to the QUOD website and the first release of compiled results from research supported by QUOD. So far researchers using QUOD samples and data have generated 28 known publications and presentations at transplant congresses including BTS, ESOT, and ATC. These findings address kidney and liver transplant and incorporate multiple disciplines including proteomics, transcriptomics, immunology, pathology, and much more. Highlights include:
- Proteomic profiling of pre-transplant donor kidneys may correlate with one-year post transplant outcomes (Kaisar et al, Transplantation 103.2 pp. 323-328.)
- 240 candidate genes significantly associated with DGF and others with long-term GFR (Clatworthy et al, BTS 2018)
- Exosomal proteomes in donor serum reveal proteins associated with post transplant eGFR (Huang et al, BTS 2019)
First-time attendee Paul Gibson, Project Manager with the Human Cell Atlas at Sanger Institute, described the symposium as “a great opportunity to engage openly and collaboratively with clinicians and scientists across the QUOD consortium… When outlined, the vision and roadmap of QUOD cemented that it is truly an exciting time to be a part of this effort.”
The Quality in Organ Donation (QUOD) initiative is a national consortium to promote research and to facilitate service development in organ donation and transplantation. QUOD is funded by NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) and the Medical Research Council (MRC). Launched in 2013, this nationwide programme collects blood and tissue samples from about 80% of the nation’s organ donors, enabling research to identify pathways of injury and repair as well as predictive biomarkers in donor organs for transplantation. With this research, QUOD aims to increase the quantity and quality of transplantable organs, reducing the waiting list, cutting health care costs, and improving outcomes for patients.