Immune prediction and monitoring as a guide to patient care

The MRC Centre aims to generate high quality biomarker data to enable disease prediction, risk stratification and personalised medicine. The biomarker research team is working on a programme of early post-transplant monitoring to detect acute rejection before clinical warning signs are evident. More than 300 patients have been recruited to the study which is looking at eight possible candidate genes as markers for early rejection of a transplanted organ. This extensive research team includes Professor Terry Strom, Professor David Grimwade, Dr Maria Hernandez-Fuentes and Dr Paramit Chowdhury as well as a multidisciplinary group of research nurses, biostatisticians and a data manager. A subsidiary study led by Professor Graham Lord is using flow cytometry to study transcriptional biomarkers.

A further study is looking at late post transplant markers which may indicate progressive transplant loss. This research also extends into monitoring after islet transplantation for Type 1 diabetes. This work will relate closely to efforts in functional imaging of islets which will combine Centre efforts to progress future treatment strategies into the clinic for patient benefit.

A programme is also underway examining clinical utility of biomarkers that associate with long term acceptance of kidney or liver transplants with little or no immunosuppressive therapy. The liver programme is led by Professor Alberto Sanchez-Fueyo.

The Centre also encompasses the largest UK cohort of patients undergoing auxiliary liver transplantation for acute liver failure. This cohort provides an excellent opportunity to study the regenerative process in native liver alongside simultaneous rejection of the liver graft (Professor Nigel Heaton, Mr Varuna Aluvihare). This research is ongoing with Professor Terry Strom in Harvard and Professor Seth Karp (Vanderbilt University Medical Centre).

T cell differentiation: Professor Graham Lord, Dr Maria Hernandez-Fuentes
Genomics: Professor Ellen Solomon, Professor David Grimwade, Dr Michael Weale
Immune Monitoring: Professor Terrence Strom
Diabetic Immunology: Professor Mark Peakman, Dr Tim Tree
Liver: Professor Alberto Sanchez-Fueyo, Mr Nigel Heaton