The science of transplantation

Finding a match for all our patients

Organ transplantation is one of the miracles of modern medicine, but despite being performed for over 50 years it is far from a routine process. 

Our healthcare scientists work to support organ transplantation by assessing patient and donor compatibility and find a successful match for all of our patients.  

Matching donors and recipients 

To assess transplant compatibility scientists perform Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) matching between donors and recipients.

HLA markers are present on the surface of most cells within our bodies and are used by the immune system to determine which cells belong to our bodies, and which ones don’t. Any cells which are not recognised as belonging to your body can trigger an immune response. In a transplant a HLA matched graft is associated with a better outcome.

Match and Snap

Next week, our team of our scientists will be holding a pop up event, as part of the Edinburgh International Science Festival aiming to better explain some of the work they do to a younger audience.

The aim of the day is to ensure everyone leaves with a little more knowledge about how a transplant donor and recipient are matched, and to highlight the work of  scientists supporting organ transplantation through our bespoke game 'Match and Snap'.

“Lots of people have heard about a tissue types or organs being a ‘match’, but few people understand the complexities behind finding that match. The game is a hands on opportunity to learn more about the matching process in a fun and engaging way” said Clinical Scientist, Richard Battle. 

Match and Snap is just one of the many ways we are encouraging youngsters to get involved in better understanding transfusion and donor matching, such as the success of the mini trainee scientists day at Ninewells Hospital in March.

Join us

Our team will be at the ‘Experimentarium’ in Edinburgh’s Summerhall on the 13-14 of April with our Match and Snap card game, encouraging youngsters to have a go at matching donors and recipients for themselves.  

Follow us @NHSNSS in the run up to the event and on the day using the hashtag #MatchNSnap