The Transplantation Biology Research Center (TBRC) at Massachusetts General Hospital conducts critical research to increase the success rates of transplantation and meet the growing demand for organ and bone marrow transplantation.
Multidisciplinary Approach to Research
The TBRC team conducts leading research in the field of transplantation.
The Transplantation Biology Research Center (TBRC) at Massachusetts General Hospital is a multidisciplinary research center working at the interface between basic science and clinical applications in transplantation immunology.
The TBRC was established in 1991 by David H. Sachs, MD, as a new research center within the Mass General Department of Surgery. Under his leadership, the TBRC has attracted expert scientists who direct independent research programs in many phases of transplantation biology, from basic molecular research to large animal preclinical and clinical models of transplantation.
In January 2013, Dr. Sachs became the center’s scientific director, with Joren C. Madsen, MD, DPhil, and Laurence A. Turka, MD, becoming the center’s co-directors. The TBRC has a faculty and staff of approximately 65 persons, comprising seven scientific groups that are dedicated to collaboration and interaction through the following labs:
- Cardiothoracic Transplantation Laboratory: uses molecular and cellular techniques to study transplantation tolerance, acute/chronic rejection, innate immunity, xenotransplantation and whole organ bioengineering
- Experimental Organ Transplantation Laboratory: focuses on developing tolerance-inducing strategies in xenotransplantation
- Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation Laboratory: applies basic immunologic studies toward improving the results of clinical hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT)
- Large Animal Organ Transplantation Section: investigates the success of transplantation in preclinical trials
- Molecular Biology Laboratory: provides new insights into the role of major histocompatibility class II molecules (MHCII) in the regulation of immune responses
- Organ Transplantation Tolerance and Xenotransplantation Laboratory: develops strategies to induce tolerance across allogeneic and xenogeneic barriers to prevent rejection and relieve the current shortage of donor organs
- Turka Laboratory: researches the cellular and molecular aspects of T-cell tolerance, with a particular interest in mechanisms of transplant tolerance
- Vascularized Composite Allotransplantation Laboratory: investigates the immunobiology of vascularized composite allografts (VCA), with a primary focus on developing tolerance induction strategies in preclinical models
The TBRC is part of the Mass General Transplant Center and works closely with the Bone Marrow Transplantation Unit of the Department of Medicine at Mass General. This close collaboration between basic science and clinical applications enhances the quality of the research in both areas. Researchers and clinicians benefit from available expertise in molecular biology, cellular immunology, infectious disease, surgery, medicine, pathology, nephrology and cardiology.
In addition to the research done directly within the TBRC laboratories, Mass General is one of three major partners in the Immune Tolerance Network (ITN) The ITN, a cooperative agreement funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), performs phase I and phase II trials for immune tolerance in solid organ transplantation, autoimmunity and allergy, accompanied by in depth mechanistic studies. Several landmark ITN studies have been led by Mass General investigators. Dr. Turka serves as Deputy Director.
Meeting the Demand of Transplantation
In the United States alone, each year tens of thousands of people are placed on waiting lists to receive suitable organs for life-saving transplants. Bone marrow transplantation has likewise become a means of curing hematologic malignancies and other blood-related diseases and is the only hope for thousands suffering from such illnesses. Furthering our understanding of transplantation biology is critical to developing new ways to prevent organ rejection, to finding alternative sources of organs and to providing bone marrow transplantation to patients without available matched sibling donors.
Core Facility Available to Researchers
The TBRC makes its Recombinant Protein Expression and Purification (RPrEP) Core available to all members of the research community. The RPrEP Core provides cost-effective resources for expression and purification of recombinant proteins necessary for pre-clinical and basic mechanistic studies by immunologists and cancer biologists.
To learn more about the RPrEP Core, contact Zhirui Wang, DVM, PhD.