COVID BioArchive Update

Since March 2020 the QUOD team has been supporting the national effort in the fight against COVID-19. QUOD’s extensive biobanking expertise, infrastructure and personnel have served to set up the NHSBT Oxford COVID BioArchive (COBA).  Over 68,000 blood samples from convalescent plasma donors who have recovered from COVID-19 have been collected and processed as part of the NHSBT Convalescent Plasma programme. In addition, since September COBA has received over 18,000 samples collected from recipients of convalescent plasma and monoclonal antibody treatment in the international RECOVERY trial.

These samples were used by a number of research groups, NHSBT and Public Health England in a variety of projects, including assessment of novel COVID-19 tests, characterisation of COVID-19 antibody function, and analysis of the efficacy of convalescent plasma treatment. With this COVID BioArchive, we have been able to establish a robust and sustainable resource for future validation and research helping us to gain better insight into COVID-19 and anticipate targeted intervention.

You may have heard that on 15th January randomisations of patients into convalescent plasma was paused following disappointing interim results that showed no evidence that convalescent plasma has an overall benefit on patient outcomes in moderately ill people.  Work to search for evidence of benefit in subgroups before organ damage and hospitalisation occurs is now under consideration.

Given the quantity of samples now available, it has been decided that collection of further plasma samples will not be resumed.  The news may seem discouraging, however an important scientific question has been answered.  In terms of the scale and volume of the operation this was a considerable undertaking that has proved that the QUOD infrastructure in close collaboration with the NHSBT’s Blood Service has the capacity and versatility to help and meet such an important demand.

Over 250,000 samples are currently stored in the COVID BioArchive to be used for dedicated research questions and validation of novel tests. Applications are welcome from national and international research groups or health care authorities.

Increasing the Number of Organs Available for Research (INOAR)

Until recently, only organs removed for transplant, but subsequently not transplanted were available to researchers.  Thanks to a collaboration between QUOD and Newcastle University, in partnership with NHS Blood and Transplant, new arrangements have been implemented that will allow hearts, lungs and pancreases which are unsuitable for transplantation to be retrieved for research purposes. This will greatly facilitate ongoing research into developing ways more donated organs can be converted into successful life-saving transplants.

Clare Denison, Lead Specialist – Innovation and Research ODT at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “This is a significant moment for our organisation and researchers across the country. INOAR will change the face of transplantation and ultimately improve patient outcomes and quality of life in the future.”

This development is particularly exciting for diabetes researchers. Almost 4 million people in the UK are living with diabetes. The condition occurs when the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, or when it can’t produce any at all, which leads to blood glucose levels being too high. Until now, the pancreas has not been removed, or even sampled following the death of people with diabetes during organ donation for transplantation.  Research into the mechanisms preventing normal pancreatic insulin production in diabetes has therefore been limited to the small number of post-mortem samples currently stored in the UK.

Dr Elizabeth Robertson, Director of Research at Diabetes UK, said: “This is an exciting step forward that we hope will rapidly advance our understanding of the causes and progression of diabetes … world-class scientists will now have vital access to pancreatic tissue, propelling our knowledge of diabetes forward and bringing us a step closer to a world where diabetes can do no harm.”

Covid-19 Update: QUOD Resumes

QUOD and NHSBT are delighted to let you know that QUOD sample collection has resumed as of Tuesday 28th July.

Due to the commitment and help from all of the QUOD collaborating partners, the QUOD biobank has been able to facilitate approximately 60 research projects and supported research groups to successfully apply for almost £ 9M of national and international funding, focusing on different aspects of donor organ quality and transplantation. Within the next few weeks we will also reach the milestone of 5,000 organ donors that have been included in the QUOD bioresource.

We are looking forward to getting back to work again and would like to thank all involved in QUOD for their ongoing support!

QUOD Awarded Five-Year Funding Renewal from NHSBT

NHS Blood and Transplant has awarded £2.4 million to the Quality in Organ Donation (QUOD) programme, hosted by the University of Oxford on behalf of the national consortium of transplant centres, to extend the biobank infrastructure until 2025.

QUOD is a unique national biomedical resource combining detailed clinical data from almost all organ donors in the UK with a biobank of blood, urine, and tissue samples taken around the time of donation. This combination of data and samples enables ground-breaking research on biomarkers to predict organ function as well as study mechanisms of organ damage and repair.

Such research contributes to better selection and optimisation of organs for successful transplantation. These efforts are a vital part of NHSBT’s overall strategy to address the lengthy waiting periods for transplant recipients. By enhancing our understanding of which organs are most suitable for transplant, and how organ injury in the transplant process can be prevented and reversed, QUOD aims to increase organ utilisation. This will make more organs available for transplant and reduce the persistent gap between patient need and organ supply.

Since launching in 2013, QUOD has collected over 90,000 samples from almost 5,000 deceased donors. The biobank has received 63 applications, supported by nearly three dozen funders, involving multiple disciplines including proteomics, transcriptomics, immunology, and pathology. Using QUOD resources, investigators have generated dozens of journal articles, dissertations, and major conference presentations, including multiple  Medawar Award nominees at the British Transplant Society congress.

In 2019 the biobank initiated collection of new sample types—cardiac biopsies and bronchoalveolar lavage samples — and the next five years will see the continuation of this collection and the issuing of these samples to new research projects. Plans are underway to add bile and bile duct samples from liver donors. Following crucial support for national initiatives in Normothermic Regional Perfusion and the PITHIA trial, QUOD will continue to offer expertise and logistical help for appropriate clinical trials and service development. Most importantly, the biobank will extend its provision of, and research with whole organs, enabling further development of the whole-organ pathology atlases initiated under a £1.7m MRC grant received in 2017.

Although the introduction of presumed consent for organ donation (i.e, the “opt out” policy) is expected to increase the overall numbers of organs available for transplant, clinicians still need better tools to understand which organs will function best for which donors. Thus QUOD has ambitious aims to facilitate research in transplantation until 2025 and beyond.

Covid-19 QUOD Update

Due to the increasing challenges in the context of COVID-19 in our donor hospitals, NHS Blood & Transplant Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation (NHSBT-OTDT) and the QUOD team have decided to pause all QUOD sampling in the UK until further notice.

We hope that this will reduce pressure on the workforce at these difficult times.

Specialist Nurses in Organ Donation and NORS teams are kindly requested to keep new QUOD boxes with an unbroken seal shelved until we are able to resume the sampling for QUOD.

NHSBT and QUOD thank all SN-ODs and NORS team members for their commitment and continued support.

Publications & Presentations: November 2019

QUOD publication printing press

We are very pleased to roll out the first centralised listing of all known publications and presentations based on research using QUOD samples and data! Visit this new website section to peruse details from all 17 presentations and 2 publications (with one more known to be in process for publication).

As we are made aware of more presentations, we will announce via news posts and update the master listing.

Researchers may also be interested in the master list of approved projects and current known statuses.

Did we miss a presentation or publication? Please let us know by emailing quod-research@nds.ox.ac.uk.

5th National QUOD Symposium – 18 November 2019

We would like to invite you to the 2019 Autumn QUOD Symposium to be held in Manchester.

If you are interested in the pursuit of improvement of outcomes after transplantation through translational science, please register and join us for:

  • Consortium Research Presentations
  • Operational Highlights
  • Upcoming Developments
  • Partner Announcements

Time

  • 12pm Arrival and registration
  • 12.15pm Networking and buffet lunch
  • 1pm Symposium starts

Full programme to follow.

Register Here!

SymposiumPoster