The Organ Conditioning Unit

To repair injury and recover organs for transplantation.

Chief investigator: Professor Rutger Ploeg
Location/InstitutionUniversity of Oxford
Funder: NHSBT Research and Development Committee
NHSBT research area: Organs and tissues


This research aims to increase the number of donor organs available for transplantation, by ‘making the untransplantable organ transplantable’.

The aim is to set up an Organ Conditioning Unit as a clinical service in which recovery strategies, including pharmacological and biological cell therapies, can be applied to higher risk and/or previously discarded organs. The unit will allow organs to be conditioned and repaired, whilst at the same time it will make it possible to assess and monitor organ viability by the use of novel machine perfusion technologies and organ quality molecular profiles.

The research will identify injury/repair factors by screening deceased donor organs with advanced molecular and ‘–omics’ techniques. The specific focus is on pathways of injury, inflammation and cell death, but also cellular protection and mitochondrial function as markers of organ viability.

Establishing novel strategies to improve organ viability and to repair discarded organs will lead to an increase in the number and quality of abdominal organs available for transplantation. This will help in closing the gap between organ supply and demand, reducing patients’ deaths or waiting time for life-saving transplants and reducing costs due to life-supporting treatments, such as dialysis or re-transplantation, currently weighing on the health system.