International Team Seeks to Revolutionize Understanding of How Gene Variants Affect Organ Transplant Outcomes

Nearly 30,000 organ transplants are performed in the United States every year. These operations routinely extend lives, but the success of these procedures continues to be limited by problems that arise when the recipient's immune system rejects the new organ and by other complications. Now, a large international team of transplant surgeons and scientists, co-led by researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn), has come together to investigate the genetic factors behind transplant successes and failures. The project, involving more than three dozen research institutions around the world, is called the International Genetics & Translational Research in Transplantation Network (iGeneTRAiN). Their efforts are detailed in a pair of papers published in Genome Medicine (open-access article) on October 1, 2015 and in Transplantation (in press). The Genome Medicine article is titled “Concept and Design of a Genome-Wide Association Genotyping Array Tailored for Transplantation-Specific Studies.” The Transplantation article is titled “Design and Implementation of the International Genetics & Translational Research in Transplantation Network (iGeneTRAiN). "The genetic datasets we've put together in this project are by far the largest ever assembled in transplant genomics," said Brendan J. Keating, D.Phil., an Assistant Professor of Transplant Surgery at Penn Medicine. "We want to revolutionize our understanding of how genetic variants affect transplant outcomes, and use those findings to improve these outcomes in the future." Dr. Keating is senior author of the Genome Medicine publication and first author of the Transplantation publication.
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