For Relatives

What is QUOD?
The Quality in Organ Donation (QUOD) initiative facilitates research into organ donation and transplantation by providing researchers with samples (e.g. blood, urine and tissue) and clinical data from organ donors. The research will look at the factors that influence the success and failure of organ transplantation, and how injury to transplanted organs can be prevented. QUOD supports research that will help better predict the outcomes of transplantation and make previously unusable organs transplantable. To find out more about what QUOD does click here.

What does participation in QUOD entail?
If you agree for your relative’s/loved one’s organs to be donated for transplantation, the Specialist Nurse in Organ Donation will ask for your consent/authorisation for participation in the QUOD programme. QUOD samples will only be collected once consent/authorisation for research is obtained. This will not have any impact on your decision to donate your relative’s/loved one’s organs and will not affect the care they receive.

What samples are taken?
Following consent/authorisation for participation in the QUOD programme, our medical team will take small samples of the kidneys, ureter (tube connecting the kidneys and bladder), liver, heart and spleen (organ which filters blood), as well as some blood and urine samples at various stages of donor management. These samples will be about the size of a matchstick head. Samples taken from the spleen will be about the size of a sugar cube. Blood and urine samples will be no more than 6ml each.

In addition, QUOD is also able to use untransplantable organs for research purposes. They will be used to carry out research aiming to understand characteristics of organ damage (for example the impact of the body’s own immune system) during the organ donation process, as well as understanding the processes leading to organ failure.

What happens to the samples?
Samples collected from organ donors are processed and stored anonymously in the QUOD biobank in Oxford. Researchers can apply to access these anonymised samples and their clinical data (e.g. age of organ donor, age of organ recipient).  All researcher requests are reviewed by a committee to ensure research projects make good use of the samples. Researchers are required to pay a small cost recovery fee (around 10% of the cost of collection and sample storage) to ensure the successful continuation of the QUOD biobank. Anonymised samples may be sent to researchers working in industry or in other countries. Researchers cannot use QUOD samples to conduct research involving animals or relating to the termination of pregnancy.

Are there any risks to participating in QUOD?
It is important to note that samples like this are taken routinely and will not affect the use of the organs for transplantation in any way.

All of this information is included in the Relative Information Leaflet. Your Specialist Nurse in Organ Donation will go through this information leaflet with you.