The Five-Year Plan of the Roche Organ Transplantation Research Foundation (ROTRF), which started in 2007, aims to promote increased understanding of the pathogenesis and prevention of human transplantation diseases. The primary focus of the Foundation remains clinical research in transplant patients, relevant topics in non-transplant patients, and newly emerging organ transplantation technologies. The ROTRF’s decision in 2008 to realign the research emphasis wholly towards clinically relevant projects has been very well received, and it gives me great pleasure to announce, on behalf of the ROTRF Board of Trustees, that over 2.7 million Swiss francs were awarded to clinical research projects in Cycles XXIII and XXIV.

During 2010, the ROTRF Board of Trustees and the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) selected 17 outstanding projects for funding. Projects were rated on their merit, originality and design, with particular attention paid to the realistic potential for clinical application in the near term. Those chosen for ROTRF funding represent the best in strong cross-disciplinary collaborations tackling innovative, novel and clinically important questions. The focus of the research projects awarded a grant include assessment and lipid analyses of liver function and quality, evaluation of long-term function of kidney allografts, post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease, hepatitis C in liver transplantation and graft outcome, antibody-mediated rejection, and bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome. Previously funded projects have set the bar high, with results frequently presented on national and international stages at congresses, in peer-reviewed journal publications, and of course on the ROTRF homepage. As Trustees, we are looking forward to welcoming further new and exciting data from these newly funded 2010 projects.

Applications for Cycle XXVI are currently being accepted. The Trustees invite investigators to submit proposals for clinically oriented research projects. This may, for example, encompass observational clinical studies or studies that use human transplant samples for laboratory examinations to investigate the pathogenesis of human disease states in organ transplantation. The Trustees are also interested in promoting collaborative partnerships, examining ideas that will push the frontiers of novel techniques or tackle currently under-studied areas of clinical transplantation research. As in the past, we anticipate a large number of grant applications being submitted and look forward to another exciting and competitive selection process.

During 2010, the ROTRF sponsored satellite symposia at both the American Transplant Congress in San Diego and at the XXIII International Congress of The Transplantation Society in Vancouver. The symposia, entitled “T cell-mediated Rejection: Emerging Relationships – Puzzles and Paradoxes” and “Antibody-Mediated Rejection – an Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure”, respectively, focused on current issues around T cell-mediated rejection and advancements made in the prevention of antibody-mediated rejection. The presentations given for both symposia were of outstanding quality, and the symposia were extremely well-attended with positive feedback from both audiences.

The ROTRF is grateful to F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd for their continued support of research into organ transplantation. 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.

Finally, the ROTRF wishes the newly granted investigators of Cycles XXIII and XXIV good luck with their research!

On behalf of the Board of Trustees

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