COPE is a complex multi-national research project. Please find here a few facts and figures for you to get to know our work "at a glance":
COPE concluded with 13 active partners accross six European countries.
We gathered 7 academic institutions, 5 industry partners and 1 non-profit organisation, along with over two dozen transplant recruitment centres. Our core team included over 30 highly motivated people working in surgery, biobanking, translational research, project and trial management.
Our trial logistics were very challenging as we never knew where a donation will happen and to which recipient the organ would be allocated. To overcome this challenge, we worked with a team of over 120 Transplant Technicians accross the UK and the Continent to ensure sample and data collection.
COPE was funded through the European Union's 7th Framework Programme for research, technolgocial development and demonstration.
Our project had a budget of 6 million Euros for a duration of 5.5 years.
We started COPE in January 2013. Though the project formally concluded in June 2018, follow-up work on project results continues.
COPE was the official organ preservation task force of the European Society for Organ Transplantation (ESOT)
COPE ran three clinical trials, two experimental work packages and one consolidated biobank.
Accross our three trials, we conducted over 650 transplants and the surgical teams involved in our trials worked in seven different languages.
The liver trial was the first clinical trial to test the effectiveness of normothermic machine perfusion vs. static cold storage. It finished its recruitment with the 220th liver transplanted in March 2016. Liver NMP was found to be a safe and more effective method of preservation than static cold storage, reducing graft injury and organ discard rates. The full results were published as a cover article in Nature in May 2018.
The liver trial results have received prestigious awards at the meetings of The Transplantation Society (Young Investigators Award); European Society of Organ Transplantation (Best Abstract Award); International Liver Transplant Society (Rising Star Award); American Transplant Congress (Young Investigators Award); and also received the prestigious Medawar Medal from the British Transplantation Society. In addition, the results of this landmark study gained significant worldwide press when released, with coverage from the BBC, Washington Post, Japan Times, and other major outlets.
POMP tested the effectiveness of pre-implantation kidney perfusion after cold storage vs. continuous cold storage. It completed recruitment in May 2018 with the 262nd kidney. The trial end point will be reached in May 2019, with analysis to follow.
COMPARE tested oxygenated vs. non-oxygenated perfusion for DCD kidneys from donors 50 or older. The trial finished recruitment with a total of 105 transplanted kidney pairs in April 2017. Follow-up was completed in April 2018 and analysis is underway.
In addition to trial outcomes, COPE will also deliver a Health Economics Analysis for each new intervention tested.
The potential of machine perfusion in transplant has advanced rapidly; therefore the project also included two experimental work packages to test further innovations in liver and kidney perfusion protocols that would enhance transplant outcomes.
In our biobank, we have gathered blood, urine, perfusate, bile and tissue samples from organ donors and recipients. This amounts to over 5,000 specimens, which will be aliquotted into an even bigger number of small sample sizes for research purposes. Over 40 research proposals have been received to explore mechanisms of organ injury and perfusion parameters to predict graft health, which will ultimately lead to better organ use and fewer graft failures.
The project has so far yielded over two dozen peer-reviewed publications and conference papers, along with over 70 other presentations and popular press articles.
This project has received funding from the European Union's 7th Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement 305934.