CDTRP Research Innovation Grant – Dr. Marcelo Cypel

Through collaboration with partner organizations, CDTRP is pleased to announce the results of our annual Research Innovation Grant competition to fund exciting new project ideas. Over the coming weeks, we will be profiling all of the projects funded in the 2022 competition.

CDTRP Research Innovation Grant 

Dr. Marcelo Cypel

  • Main affiliation: University Health Network
  • Theme 3 – Engineer and Allocate Better Grafts
  • Title: Ex-vivo immuno-cloaking of donor lungs to prevent transplant rejection: a proof of concept study
Lay abstract

Lungs have the poorest outcome of all solid organ transplants, of about 50-60% survival rate within the first five years. Part of the reason are due to poor strategies to prevent immune-mediated rejection (patient’s immune system attacks the new lung), and ischemia reperfusion injury (injuries that occur while reviving the lung). These injuries can result in primary graft dysfunction (PGD), a severe form of lung injury that is a major cause of early mortality. Early injuries and rejection are thought to start at the blood vessels as it is the first contact point between the transplanted lung and the patient. Starting from lung retrieval, all the way to transplant, the blood vessels are injured by the damage/loss of the glycocalyx, a molecule that coats the cells of the blood vessels acting as a physical barrier. Our collaborator, Dr. Kizhakkedathu in a recent publication, showcased that reconstructing the organ’s blood vessels with immunosuppressive polymers before transplantation prevents immune-mediated rejection without use of immunosuppressant. Based on these promising results, in collaboration with Dr. Kizhakkedathu, the current project aims to apply this polymer for lung transplantations. We will optimize the technology and evaluate the efficacy and safety with cell culture model and small animal model for lung specific uses. Results from this study will serve as basis for future translation into large animal and human clinical evaluation. Ultimately, successful translation of this new immune therapy from bend to bedside can help improve health benefits of millions of transplant patients in Canada and beyond.

“Congratulations to Dr. Cypel and the whole team for this exciting project, which CDTRP is proud to support. This work is a perfect example of how bringing together multiple disciplines can lead to new and creative ideas to solve some of transplantation’s greatest challenges.”

Dr. Patricia Gongal, CDTRP Executive Director