In 2018, a multi-disciplinary team of researchers from Oxord and Newcastle, led by Professor Rutger Ploeg, was awarded a grant of £1.7 million from the Medical Research Council (MRC) to enable the expansion of QUOD.
Prior to this grant, QUOD focused on kidney and liver donors. However, the MRC grant will be used to allow QUOD to collect samples and whole organs for research from heart, lung, and pancreatic donors. Furthermore, the grant will allow QUOD to create scientific platforms including state-of-the-art pathology, genomics, proteomics, and imaging techniques to develop online searchable atlases, representing a spectrum of normal, stressed, and chronically diseased organs.
The science and technology platforms involve multidisciplinary teams of scientists, clinicians, and other health care professionals, including Professors James Shaw, John Dark, and Dina Tiniakos at Newcastle University; Professors Benedikt Kessler, Paul Johnson, and John Todd at the University of Oxford; and Professor Susan Francis at the University of Nottingham.
This connection of high-quality clinical information, easily monitored samples, and newly identified biomarkers does not currently exist. The QUOD expansion will thus create invaluable tools for the scientific and clinical community. It will facilitate new understanding of the causes of organ stress, leading to new treatments to maximise transplant success but may also help to prevent or even reverse chronic diseases without the need for transplantation.
The project will also allow QUOD to establish a valuable infrastructure for the acceptance of whole organs for research. Other research groups can make use of this infrastructure to facilitate their own access to whole organs.
Ultimately, the QUOD expansion aims to further the overall QUOD mission: saving lives and cutting health care costs by increasing the pool of transplantable organs, thereby addressing the growing gap between supply and demand in organ transplantation.