Anthony Nolan Research Institute





The Trust’s Research Institute was established in just 1996 but, with over 30 staff, its work is dedicated to the study of bone marrow or, more precisely, haematopoietic stem cell transplantation.


Broadly speaking, research at the Anthony Nolan Research Institute focuses on five main areas of immunogenetics:



 Improving the classification of tissue types to allow the most accurate identification and matching.


-          Immunotherapy : Enhancing the ability of grafted cells to provide immune-protection for the host in combating residual leukaemic cells and helping to limit the problems caused by viruses after transplantation and providing optimum conditions for the rapid multiplication of healthy grafted cells.


-          Alloreactivity: Ensuring the reciprocal acceptance of grafted and host cells.


-          Bioinformatics: The curation of the WHO HLA nomenclature committee database (IMGT/HLA), ensuring consistency and documentation of new variants of HLA alleles. The bioinformatics group are also responsible for starting a new database for Killer-cell Immunoglobulin like Receptors (KIR).


-          Immune reconstitution: The investigation of the factors that slow down or enhance the regeneration of immune cells in the body after transplantation and finding ways of enhancing the body’s capacity for replacing damaged white blood cells after chemotherapy.




Haematopoietic stem-cell transplant is currently one of the main clinical treatments known to cure leukaemia completely but with survival rates of approximately 50%, there is still huge potential to increase its effectiveness and therefore its success rate. The Institute investigates topics related to pre and post transplantation practice; in general terms, how best to achieve an optimum outcome between donors and patients, and how to improve recuperation by preventing disease relapse.



Financially, immuno-protective research has recently been given a huge boost by the European Commission’s autumn 2003 decision to award a grant of 8 million Euro into various aspects of bone marrow transplant, the largest ever grant awarded to an immunotherapy programme.


Professor Alejandro Madrigal, the Anthony Nolan Trust’s Scientific Director will be heading an international consortium of world-class scientists, clinicians, key biotechnology companies and donor organisations from 13 countries in a massive research programme entitled ALLOSTEM – a very public acknowledgement of the Institute’s international standing, and one we are very proud of.


Of the Research Institute’s total budget, 69% is funded by the Anthony Nolan Trust through the provision of funds by public donation, the remainder being provided by research grants.


The Anthony Nolan Trust and Anthony Nolan Research Institute do not receive any government funding to help with their charitable work despite being the largest single independent register in the world.