HCR.20.023 – More high quality organs to meet transplantation needs

Route: Health care research, sickness prevention and treatment

Cluster question: 098 How can we use breakthroughs in basic biomedical research to develop new medicines?

For patients suffering from end-stage organ failure, the only medical treatment is organ transplantation. Unfortunately, there is a huge demand for high-quality organs leading to a long waiting list and deaths while on the waiting list. We will address this unmet medical need through an interdisciplinary approach built on the synergy between transplantation medicine, biology, biophysics imaging, and nanoscience. We aim to develop a tool to assess organ quality before transplantation rapidly and reliably. To achieve this, we will make use of existing ex-vivo machine perfusion techniques for kidney, liver, and lung developed and currently clinically used at the UMCG. During organ perfusion, drugs or other compounds can be added via the perfusate and can reach specific cellular targets and increase organ viability. In this project, organ quality will be assessed by the ex-vivo administration of near infra-red and fluorescent-labeled nanoparticles that are taken up and metabolized only by vital cells and therefore serve as vitality sensors. The use of high-resolution optical imaging techniques combined with machine perfusion system will provide a real-time non-invasive bioimaging assessment of organ viability and quality can. Preliminary experiments performed by our partners showed that the proposed methods are feasible and reliable. In this project, we will optimize the techniques using rat organs and validate results in human-sized porcine organs. In this way, we will pave the way for a first real-time bio-imaging device to be used in the human clinical setting. The results of this project can be used to widen the organ pool by preventing unnecessary discard of organs deemed nontransplantable by current approaches. Moreover, our tool could importantly prevent transplantation of poorly functional organs, reducing the need of future dialysis or re-transplantation. Finally, the device could be exploited for screening of novel medicines intended to repair or prevent organ damag


Nano Particles, Optical Imaging, Organ Perfusion, Organ Transplantation, Transplantation Medicin, Viabilty Sensor, Waiting Lists

Other organisations

Aarhus University, Dept of Biophysics&Imaging, Dept of Medicine, Nanoscience Center


Organisation University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG)
Name Prof. dr. H.G.D. (Henri) Leuvenink
E-mail h.g.d.leuvenink@umcg.nl
Website www.umcg.nl