Corporate entry Transplantation Unit (1981 - 1996)
The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
- Medical Research
The Transplantation and Electron Microscopy Unit took over from the Electron Microscopy Laboratory of the Cellular Immunology Unit in 1981/82. It was incorporated into the Transplantation Unit in 1989/90, which was in turn merged to form the Autoimmunity and Transplantation Division in 1996/1997.
The Transplantation and Electron Microscopy Unit provided electron microscope facilities for the Hall Institute Units and for other Institutions. It also had a research wing, which initially concentrated on pancreatic islet transplantation in mice with induced diabetes mellitus. The Unit attempted a small clinical transplantation trial in selected human patients beginning in 1983/84, but it progressed slowly due to a poor supply of immature human pancreas. Initial transplants yielded no evidence of graft function after two years so the Unit returned to a focus on animal models in 1987/88. The acquisition of a NOD (non-obese diabetic) mouse model in 1984/85 greatly expanded opportunities for transplantation studies relevant to human type I insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). The NOD mice proved invaluable for studies in immunosuppression, graft rejection and immuno-isolation, and for researching xenotransplantation of islets from foetal pig pancreas into NOD mice. This work was first undertaken in 1986 and became the Unit's main focus by 1991/92. In 1994/95 xenotransplantation studies were extended to primates, but an absence of primate autoimmune insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) prevented a study on recurrence of the disease after transplantation.
Emily Geraghty & Annette Alafaci
Created: 17 November 2004, Last modified: 18 February 2010