On behalf of the Board of Trustees of the Roche Organ Transplantation Research Foundation (ROTRF), I am pleased to announce that in Cycle XVII (submission deadline October 2006) and XVIII (submission deadline April 2007), ROTRF grants were awarded to 12 conventional and 5 clinical research projects dealing with transplantation issues such as graft survival, rejection, tolerance, viral infection, quality of organs and extended donor criteria. Over the same period, 3 conventional and 1 clinical research grants were awarded in the joint grant award initiative with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) to projects focusing on graft rejection and immune response in type 1 diabetes. In Cycle XVII, a total of 2.2 million CHF were awarded (1.8 million CHF for ROTRF grant awards and 0.4 million for joint ROTRF/JDRF grant awards). In Cycle XVIII, a total of 2.24 million CHF were awarded (1.64 million CHF for ROTRF grant awards and 0.6 million CHF for joint ROTRF/JDRF grant awards).

Since 1999, the ROTRF has funded outstanding research projects, which have contributed to the progress of understanding and improving organ transplantation. The results of the projects supported by the ROTRF were presented at national and international congresses. Their high quality is further demonstrated by the project reports included in the ROTRF Annual Reports and the papers published in peer-reviewed journals.

The ROTRF is greatly thankful to F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd for supporting research in solid organ transplantation over all these years and for their renewed commitment to transplantation research with a further donation of 17.5 million CHF for additional 3.5 years, which enables the ROTRF to announce a new five year plan (April 2007 to March 2012). Through the new plan, the ROTRF will continue to support high quality research of investigators from around the world who try to understand and improve the care after organ transplantation. The ROTRF will continue to fund basic and clinical research, but now increasingly gives priority to investigators who study disease states in patients or in animal models that simulate the pathology in transplant patients. The new 5-year plan will focus on the understanding of the pathogenesis and prevention of human transplantation diseases, including organ injury and rejection, viral infection and late graft deterioration. Additionally, research that addresses related clinical issues in non-transplant patients, including hepatitis C infection and inflammatory processes relevant to human organ transplantation will be considered for funding. Furthermore, the ROTRF will also welcome research in new emerging technologies such as genomics, proteomics and metabolomics for the investigation of the pathogenesis of human disease states in organ transplantation.

Jointly with JDRF, the ROTRF will also continue to support investigators working in the fields of immunology and biology research relevant to pancreatic islet transplantation and transplantation solutions for human type 1 diabetes.

We hope that the interest in the grant awards programme from ROTRF and joint ROTRF/JDRF initiative will continue to attract many high quality and innovative applications.

We are also pleased to announce that since January 2008 the newly structured ROTRF omepage is online (http://www.rotrf.org). We hope that this new homepage will help potential applicants to obtain information on the ROTRF and on the grant award submission procedure, as well as provide the opportunity to read the abstracts of the previously awarded projects. Further information on the foundation can be obtained at the ROTRF booth at transplantation congresses. Traditionally, the ROTRF is present yearly at two international congresses. In 2007 these were the American Transplant Congress in San Francisco, USA, and the Congress of the European Society for Organ Transplantation in Prague, Czech Republic.

The ROTRF Board of Trustees would like to thank the ROTRF Scientific Advisory Committee and the ROTRF and ROTRF/JDRF grantees for their excellent work and support, which have contributed to the overall success of the Foundation. The ROTRF also wishes to thank the JDRF for the excellent collaboration for the joint grant award competition.

Finally, the ROTRF wishes the newly-granted investigators of Cycles XVII and XVIII good luck with their research.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees

Philip F. Halloran, MD, PhD, OC