Edmonton, AB – A new project at the University of Alberta is using gene chip research to understand why transplanted kidneys often fail in the long-term. The research, in partnership with Japan- and US-based Astellas Pharma, may lead to development of a drug to prevent the organ’s failure.
Astellas Pharma is partnering with the Alberta government and the University of Alberta on the gene research project with funding totaling almost $1 million – including $100,000 from Alberta Advanced Education and Technology and $840,000 from Astellas Pharma, with the Alberta Transplant Applied Genomics Centre performing the clinical sampling, data collection, pathology, gene chip assessments and analysis.
“Support from the pharma industry is an exciting development,” says Dr Philip Halloran, the centre’s director. “Researchers had already discovered that antibodies are one of the principal causes of late transplant loss. Through this project, we now have a chance to find the molecules that would respond to drug treatment and could prevent the loss.”
Located on the University of Alberta campus, the centre is home to experts in genomics, pathology, immunology, transplantation, computers, and statistics, among other disciplines. This research project will conclude in mid-2010 and may lead to development by Astellas Pharma of a drug that is effective in treating the late deterioration of kidney transplants with potential application in other organ and tissue transplants.