The role of the clinician-researcher
The role of a clinician-researcher is vitally important in the medical and scientific world, as they have a unique perspective on both research and practical treatment. So, a clinician-researcher will be more aware of point-of-care issues than a researcher and usually more up-to-date than a physician. Thanks to their experience in both sides of the coin, they are willing and able to further encourage the application of new research in clinical centres. Not only this, but they will also raise field issues in order to propose research themes to the national level.
Physician researchers are employed by research institutions and hospitals and specialize in smaller and rarer medical issues. They are the crucial link between clinical research and translational medicine.
Research funding within university hospitals
Nassim Kamar and his team have already participated in a number of research projects, including the DIVAT project which was already in partnership with some members of the KTD-innov consortium. For this project, they are focusing their efforts on renal allograft rejection mechanisms.
These research projects are funded by the French government, which is pivotal in order to promote French excellence, as well as making positive steps forward to the research and the applications associated with the project. Pr. Kamar agrees that "government funding is essential for this kind of project."
Collaboration: Exchange of good practices
Collaboration is an important aspect of a medical researcher’s profession, as it is an opportunity to create a link between different medical centres, as well as combining resources in order to make considerable progress in the field. For example, several transplant centres in university hospitals are participating in the KTD-innov project, including Nantes, Lyon, Bordeaux, Montpellier, Toulouse, and the Parisian hospitals under the APHP flagship.
The project involves a wide array of people from medical professionals and clinical centres to research teams, industrial partners, and more. The role of clinician-researchers in this kind of research project is crucial. They bring a patient-oriented point of view, making sure the outcomes benefit to both clinicians and patients.
From 15 to 18 September 2019 the annual event of the European Society for Organ Transplantation (ESOT) will take place in Copenhagen.
ESOT is the European umbrella organisation under which all European transplant professionals are organized. The organisation trains and supports its members through various European programmes and events, such as the 2019 event in Copenhagen.
Several members of the KTD-innov consortium are fortunate to be able to participate in this event with the EU Train-ESOT symposium on 15 September. As well as through various conferences such as that of Dr. Hannah Kaminski of the University Hospital of Bordeaux on the "effect of antithymocyte globulin on CMV infection in renal transplant recipients". And a presentation by Professor Nassim Kamar at the Novartis symposium.
To follow the various presentations of the event, go to #ESOT2019 and @KTDinnov.
On April 15, the annual meeting of the KTD-innov consortium took place. This meeting allows all the partners to meet in order to review the progress of the study.
The meeting was also an opportunity to exchange views with representatives of the National Research Agency (ANR), which funded the KTD-innov research project.
Several of the partners took part in this day-long meeting, including Sophie Brouard and Alexandre Loupy, the two project coordinators.
The success of this project depends in particular on the quantity and quality of data collected from volunteer patients. To date, more than 400 patients have accepted to be part of this study.
The objectives for the next steps have been set. New patients will be recruited throughout the coming year. And the analysis of the collected samples will soon begin, 50% of the samples should be analyzed by the end of 2019.
The researchers involved in the KTD-innov study will work to solve many challenges in the coming months. The data collected must be consolidated in a homogenized database that meets international security standards.
In the next few months, scientists involved in this French research project will try to identify patients at risk for allograft rejection. Bioinformatic tools will be used to analyze results from collected samples and data. A tool will then be provided to clinicians to assist the medical decision process in order to improve patients’ follow-up.
Collaborative and sustainable research on graft rejection in Bordeaux
The Bordeaux University Hospital's participation in the KTD-innov project was a natural collaboration between Prof. Couzi and the two co-coordinators of the project, Drs Alexandre Loupy and Sophie Brouard.
Thanks to this funding, the Bordeaux University Hospital has joined a partnership with other university hospitals, such as those in Lyon, Nantes, Toulouse, Montpellier and the APHP.
At the Bordeaux University Hospital, the team of Prof. Couzi and Prof. Merville is conducting translational research with the CNRS-UMR 5164 ImmunoConcept unit led by Dr. Julie Déchnet-Merville on cytomegalovirus infection, an infection particularly common in renal transplant patients.
Other research themes of the service include humoral rejection mediated by anti-HLA antibodies, which is at the centre of the KTD-innov study. The participation of the University Hospital of Bordeaux in the KTD-innov project will therefore help to consolidate a team of researchers thanks to stable funding for a project over several years.
Within the team at the University Hospital of Bordeaux led by Prof. Couzi and Prof. Merville, 11 people are working on the KTD-innov project, including three clinical research associates. Accompanied by several co-investigators, they are responsible for accompanying transplant patients in their voluntary participation in the KTD-innov study.
The collection of this data is essential for the progress of the research project, because it is the basis on which it is based. As in six transplant centers in France, the team of Prof. Couzi and Merville collects clinical, biological, immunological and molecular data from kidney transplant patients. These data are then anonymized before being analyzed by Inserm, Nantes University Hospital, APHP and Bio-Rad. It is by analyzing these data that researchers hope to gain a better understanding of the complex causes of renal transplant rejection.
The KTD-innov project has a great impact on the different parties involved in the research
For Prof. Couzi, the KTD-innov project has enormous benefits for patients because it offers a better definition of the diagnosis of rejection and should lead to improved patient care. Today, as life expectancy increases, the life expectancy of a transplanted kidney is only about a dozen years on average. It is therefore urgent to better diagnose the signs of rejection in order to better manage them and thus prolong the life of kidney transplants.
The project has clear societal benefits, particularly in addressing the current shortage of organ donation. More and more patients around the world need an organ transplant, but unfortunately the supply is not able to meet this increased demand. That is why this project to predict graft rejection is important, not only on a French scale but also on a global scale.
Research for patients in France and around the world
The KTD-innov project will generate knowledge in kidney transplantation that will be useful for medical professionals in the decades to come. It also has the potential to disrupt the way kidney transplants are treated in the short and long term.
The success of the project favors the financing of other large scale and high potential studies. The consortium has a "significant impact on French scientific reputation in kidney transplantation". It therefore contributes to strengthening the dynamism of research in Bordeaux, and of French research centres in general, in the field of kidney transplantation, thus strengthening their positions as major players in the world.
The American Transplant Congress, or ATC, is the annual joint meeting between the American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS) and the American Society of Transplantation (AST). The aim of the congress is to promote the exchange of information and innovative technologies between the various professionals in the transplantation sector: surgeons, transplant surgeons, nurses, as well as all professionals in the transplantation field.
This year, the congress will take place between June 1 and 5, 2019 in Boston, USA. During the various conferences and presentations, many researchers will express themselves on their discoveries in the transplantation field. Among them, the scientists of the KTD-innov consortium, represented by Marc Raynaud, will present the progress of the project's French research in a presentation entitled: "Population-based modelling of prototypes and determinants of allograft function trajectories after kidney transplantation: Impact on patient monitoring and risk stratification". A presentation to follow via social networks on June 2 at 8:42 pm Paris time, thanks to the hashtag #ATC2019Boston and on @KTDinnov.
For more information, you can find the full programme of ATC 2019 here.
New research conducted by the Paris Translational Research Center for Organ Transplantation team could help clinicians determine which patients will have a disease that usually occurs after a kidney transplant and which are at high risk of transplant failure. The results are published in the prestigious Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN).
Transplant glomerulopathy is a disease associated with the loss of a kidney transplant. There is currently no treatment for this heterogeneous disease.
This research was able to identify and characterize five distinct patient groups, each with different graft survival outcomes.
This research approach has been translated into a tool accessible to clinicians to assess the risk of graft loss in their patients. This will allow the individualization of patients' treatments according to their group.
World Kidney Day, promoted in France by the Kidney Foundation, will take place on March 14. This year, the theme chosen was inequalities in the prevention, early detection and treatment of kidney disease worldwide, under the slogan "Healthy kidneys for everyone, everywhere".
According to the WHO, chronic kidney disease has become a public health issue affecting 10% of the world's population. In France, 3 million people suffer from it and 87,000 of them are treated by dialysis or receive a kidney transplant. For Health Insurance, the cost of this care represents 2% of its total expenses, or €4 billion per year.
This is why the Future Investments programme is providing €9 million to support the KTD-innov research project.
Research responds to a real need of patients
For people with severe chronic kidney disease, a transplant is often the ideal choice because it is less restrictive and less expensive than dialysis. Unfortunately, in France, less than 4,000 people a year are lucky enough to receive a new kidney, and 1,500 people are still on waiting lists.
The law of 26 January 2016 on organ donation has made it possible to generalise it but is not enough to sufficiently reduce the list of patients waiting for a kidney transplant. And it happens regularly that patients who have already had a transplant need a new organ a few years after their transplant. That is why the KTD-innov project is looking for a solution to make the graft viable for longer. This solution will allow a personalized medical follow-up of transplanted patients.
Innovation in research
The KTD-innov project offers a unique approach that combines clinical, biological, immunological and molecular data from the patient. It allows a global vision of the patient and a unique analysis in the world.
Thanks to funding from the French government, KTD-innov will improve knowledge and predict the success of transplants. It is thanks to this innovation that patients can already expect an individualization of their treatment and an increase in the life of their graft by 2022.
Follow the World Day campaign on Twitter
The 2019 Cutting Edge of Transplantation (CEoT) took place between the 21st and the 23rd of February 2019 in Phoenix, USA. This year’s theme was “No size fits all: uncovering the potential of personalized transplantation”.
Their goal for their meeting each year is to see the advancement of individualized care for transplant patients through new algorithms or practices, for the duration of their transplant journey.
That is why, Dr. Alexandre Loupy presented the work of the KTD-innov team with two oral presentations, presenting the advancement of the research and how it could help transplant patients in the future by minimizing rejection risks.
The CEoT is a meeting organized each year since 2013 by the American Society of Transplantation (AST). The organization was founded in 1982 and now counts 3 800 health professionals. Their goal is to promote both the field of transplantation and patient care through research, education, advocacy, and organ donations.
Interview with Sophie Brouard, research director at the University Hospital of Nantes and co-coordinator of KTD-innov
The Société Francophone de Transplantation (SFT) will host solid organ transplant specialists in Toulouse from December 4 to 7, 2018. Partners of the KTD-innov project are present at the event.
To elucidate the mechanisms of success or failure of a kidney transplant, KTD-innov collects, centralizes and analyses clinical, biological and immunological data from thousands of kidney transplant patients in France.