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NIAID to Fund Transplant Rejection Genomics Studies

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases intends to fund genomics research intended to help understand why humans who receive transplants often suffer from immune system rejection.

NIAID will supply $4 million in 2011 to support two to four new awards under a renewal of the Genomics of Transplantation Cooperative Research Program (GTCRP), which was started in 2004.

The research program aims to identify and characterize gene variants and expression patterns that may correlate with and be used to predict transplantation outcomes, define immune responses related to graft rejection, predict responses for tailored therapies, and explain the genetic basis of variability in graft survival in different populations.

These projects may receive direct costs of up to $350,000, or up to $1.1 million per year, depending on the application type, to fund collaborative multidisciplinary teams with expertise in transplants, genetics, immunology, molecular biology, pharmacogenomics, bioinformatics, and biostatistics.

GTCRP's long-term goal is to understand the genetic basis of immune-mediated graft rejection and differences in transplant outcomes in order to inform development of more effective immune system suppression treatments, to improve long-term graft survival, and to provide a better quality of life for patients.

Investigators could use several approaches to achieving the GTCRP goals including determination of gene expression profiles of donor organs and recipients before transplantation, before clinical signs of rejection, and before and during acute and chronic rejection; identification of unique SNPs, haplotypes, and microsatellite polymorphisms in donors and recipients and linking these to immunosuppressive therapy; determination of SNPs and expression patterns linked with race, ethnicity, and gender in graft rejection; identifying DNA sequences related to graft rejection or survival; and developing diagnostic tests that use gene expression to confirm acute and chronic rejection.

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