On its first General Assembly, which took place in Frankfurt/Main today, the Transplant Cohort was founded as a part of the German Centre for Infection Research (DZIF). With this, the newly founded registered association “DZIF Transplant Cohort e.V.” is now officially able to act at the participating sites Hannover-Braunschweig, Heidelberg, Munich und Tübingen.
The DZIF Transplant Cohort is unique in Germany and aims to help improve treatment of patients who have already received a donor organ or had a stem cell transplant. Their immune system is suppressed by special drugs to protect the transplant from rejection. This in turn makes the organ recipient more susceptible to infectious pathogens, which can ultimately lead to life-threatening infections and failure of the transplanted organ. To better avoid complications in future, the Transplant Cohort will centrally collect and manage medical data and biological samples from transplanted patients. These serve as the basis of research studies investigating the connections between the transplant, the patient’s previous medical history, the administered drugs and the acquired infections.
All the cohort data and biological samples are only collected after the patients’ explicit informed consent. The biological samples are solely obtained during routine procedures and indicated examinations, or if the sampling procedure has no negative consequences to the patient whatsoever. This is guaranteed by an ethics and data protection concept approved by the ethics commissions of the Transplant Cohort’s participating hospitals and research institutions.
The Transplant Cohort’s central body is the General Assembly which comprises the employees from all participating transplant hospitals and research institutions. Today, they met for the first time and elected the Executive Board and the Scientific Steering Committee. Besides this, the Cohort Management will be the first point of contact for all participating and interested institutions. For the elections, particular care was taken to include representatives from all participating sites, infrastructures and medical specialties.