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King's College London reveals promising techniques for extending the life of an organ transplant
Date:9/15/2010

ting in organ rejection.

Working with the biotechnology industry, scientists at the MRC Centre for Transplantation have evolved a method for coating the inner surface of donor kidneys with a protective layer made from a substance which is a natural regulator of these proteins in humans.

Dr Richard Smith, Director of Protein Therapeutics at the MRC Centre for Transplantation said: 'We have engineered a protein Mirococept to combat organ damage during transit outside the human body and immediately after transplantation. It is an artificial replacement for complement regulators. If enough Mirococept proteins reach the organ's cell membranes, it can prevent the complement cascade from starting and increases the number of donor organs suitable for transplantation.'

It is hoped this research will help alleviate the clear imbalance between supply and demand of donor organs for transplantation. According to NHS Blood and Transplant, at 31 March 2010, there were 7,183 patients waiting for a kidney transplant in the UK, and 2,694 kidney transplant operations were performed during the year 2009-10.

Dr Richard Smith and his team have also introduced the 'tail' in Mirococept which is specifically designed to latch on to cell walls. He continued: 'When we are preparing an organ for transplant we wash it in a solution, and the risk is that the protein will be washed off the organ. The 'tail' we have developed snags onto the cell surface and holds it there. Imagine the difference between throwing a bucket of water at a wall and throwing a bucket of paint, the water will run off but the paint will stick. This technique, known as tethering, not only enables the protein Mirococept to reach particular types of cells, but also gives it a much better chance of staying there.'

Mirococept has already been tested in a pilot scale clinical study of 16 kidney transplant patients and this showed that the tethering technique was clinically feasibl
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Contact: Melanie Haberstroh
melanie.haberstroh@kcl.ac.uk
44-020-784-83076
King's College London
Source:Eurekalert

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