Research Group

  • Dr Seth Karp, Principal Investigator
  • Dr David Foley, Co-Investigator
  • Dr Prabhakar Putheti, Co-Investigator
  • Dr Simon Robson, Co-Investigator


  • Beth Israel Deaconess, Boston, USA


  • Identifying Transplantable Organs to Expand the Donor Pool

Liver transplantation is a life-saving procedure and one of the great success stories of modern medicine. This treatment, however, is limited by the number of donor organs available. To address this problem, the transplant community is exploring ways to use more livers. The problem is that it is often difficult to tell whether a liver will work or not. For example, livers with high amounts of fat are sometimes useable and sometimes not, but there are no reliable ways to make this determination. This is a major problem since the use of a liver that is too damaged to work can lead to patient death. On the other hand, not using a ‘good’ liver will ultimately lead to death on the waiting list. It is therefore essential that we develop a test that will allow us to make the correct decision about whether to use an organ.

Despite extensive research, we are often limited to how an organ looks or feels in determining if it should be used. With modern techniques to examine organs, however, it is likely that better methods can be developed. This proposal is divided into three parts. In the first part, we will determine whether biological signatures that predict kidney function after transplant also work for the liver. Our group has pioneered this type of investigation. In the second part, we will examine a number of high value targets to see if these tests predict function. Finally, we will add clinical data to produce a test that can be used to predict whether a liver will work. We will then evaluate this test in new patients.

Progress Report
Final Report