On behalf of the Board of Trustees of the Roche Organ Transplantation Research Foundation (ROTRF), I am pleased to announce that in Cycles XIX and XX, ROTRF grants have been awarded to 12 conventional and 6 clinical research projects, including 3 projects that were awarded as part the joint grant award initiative with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). In total, 3.8 million Swiss francs were awarded in these two application cycles.

The Board of Trustees and the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) of the ROTRF were once again impressed with the quality and originality of the applications received. This continues to translate into high quality research and stimulating new findings, which are presented at national and international congresses and published in high-impact peer-reviewed journals.

In 2007 the ROTRF announced a 5-Year Plan focusing on the understanding of the pathogenesis and prevention of human transplantation diseases, emerging techniques for the investigation of diseases related to transplantation, and clinical issues in non-transplant patients applicable to transplantation.
In line with the 5-Year Plan’s aim of promoting clinical research and new emerging technologies in transplantation, the Board of Trustees marked the 10th Anniversary of the ROTRF with a special grant award competition promoting clinical research in organ transplantation and inviting investigators to study their patients. With the "10th Anniversary Clinical Transplantation Research Grant Award Competition", the Trustees wished to promote research in antibody-mediated rejection and antibody formation, pathology of the graft during rejection events, and other areas in clinical research which promote the understanding of the critical events in patients with organ transplants. This includes studies of transplant populations, ethics, organ preservation and allocation, and health care delivery. The response to this special competition was overwhelming, with many innovative applications received by the October 2008 deadline. These applications are currently being evaluated and the funded projects will be announced in 2009.
To further celebrate the 10th anniversary of its conception, the ROTRF sponsored symposia at two major transplantation congresses in 2008. At the American Transplant Congress in Toronto, the ROTRF symposium "CSI - Clinical Science Investigations: Where Science Meets the Bedside” focused on immunosuppression, antibody-mediated rejection and cytomegalovirus infection in organ transplantation and included a discussion of clinical cases. The ROTRF early morning workshop at The XXII International Congress of the Transplantation Society in Sydney was entitled "Mechanisms of Graft Rejection and Acceptance: Pathways to a New Clinical Era”. In this informative workshop, ROTRF Trustees Dr Robert Colvin and Dr Gerhard Opelz chaired talks about cell- and antibody-mediated rejection, and operational tolerance in liver transplantation. Both symposia were very successful and drew large audiences. The ROTRF plans to continue bringing to the forefront important issues in transplantation at future congresses.

The ROTRF is grateful to F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd for their continued support of research in organ transplantation over the last 10 years. The Board of Trustees would like to thank the ROTRF Scientific Advisory Committee for their dedication to this cause, and the 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. The Trustees would like to acknowledge the excellent work of the ROTRF Secretariat, in particular Dr Claudia Ellenrieder.

Finally, the ROTRF wishes the newly granted investigators of Cycles XIX and XX good luck with their research.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees

Philip F. Halloran, MD, PhD, OC
Chairman, ROTRF Board of Trustees