Research Group

  • Prof. Ian Hutchinson, Principal Investigator
  • Dr. Vera Pravica, Co-Investigator


  • University of Manchester, Manchester, UK


  • VEGF: A Central Mediator in both Acute and Chronic Transplant Rejection

Transplantation is now a successful treatment, but patients still lose their grafts to acute and chronic rejection. These damaging processes appear to be linked, so that someone who suffers acute graft rejection is more prone to develop chronic rejection. We have identified a molecule called VEGF that appears to play a role in both the acute and chronic rejection processes.

The amount of VEGF a person produces is genetically determined. One version of the gene produces higher amounts of VEGF while the other version produces lower amounts. Those people born to be higher producers of VEGF seem to suffer more acute and chronic transplant rejection. This is important because a simple genetic test may help us to identify, in advance of transplantation, recipients who need more drugs, or different drugs, to control their tendency to reject the transplant.

In this project we continue with our studies of VEGF in transplant patients. We will study what naturally turns the production of VEGF on and off, and how this is influenced by inheritance of higher or lower producer versions of the VEGF gene. Because VEGF appears to be a central player in both acute and chronic rejection, we also want to know what influence the immunosuppressive drugs that are given to transplant recipients have on the production of VEGF. Similarly, we want to know if immunosuppressive agents have the ability to block the damaging activities of VEGF once it has been formed. This will help us to choose the most appropriate immunosuppressive agents for our patients.