In recent years it has become apparent that avoiding significant genetic miss-matches between the donor and a potential recipient is associated with better transplant results (including improved survival) with likely cost savings. Working with the Australian Red Cross Victorian Transplantation and Immunogenetics Service(VTIS), we were the first to show this in the field of lung transplantation.
This new technique involves examining donor and recipient blood looking for possible matches and mismatches of a small protein buried in genetic material within the blood cells. A computer program (Matchmaker) can count these matches up and tell us ‘how good’ the matching between the 2 are.
We have developed several projects using this idea:
- Looking backwards at patients with very good lung function >10 years out from transplant and comparing these to patients who develop early rejection and CLAD. This will help us judge the importance of relevance of particular pairings of the matches and mismatches.
- Developing and tuning up another computer program that will use this information looking forward to predict which recipient gets the best genetic match with a particular donor. This will increase the chances of getting less rejection, excellent lung function, less CLAD and hopefully lower chances of death.
These projects will build on established collaborations between the Alfred team and the Red Cross/VTIS, while taking advantage of a new senior Lung Transplant Service scientist recently specifically employed to directly oversee these projects. These 2 projects will take 2-3 years to complete.
Project costs: Ethics submission, collection and processing of blood samples, statistical assistance/analysis of results, assistance with software design.
(The actual Matchmaker software, basic consumable costs and Alfred staff costs are covered by other sources)