McDonald’s research investigations have resulted in twelve grants from state and federal agencies and organizations. His laboratory work in the mid-1960s was funded by the State University of New York at Buffalo and by the Kidney Foundation of Western New York.

Grants from the National Institutes of Health in 1968 and from the Schlieder Foundation in 1970 allowed McDonald to continue his immunologic research, focusing on the importance of cellular and humoral inmmunity, transplant rejection, and the development of methods to detect early rejection episodes. McDonald and his team of kidney transplant specialists discovered a new system that was found to be responsible for acute transplantation rejection. They called this discovery the Heterophile Transplantation Antigen or HTA System. McDonald reported on this major advance at the 4th International Congress of the Transplantation Society in September 1972. (see also: 1 | 2)
Further investigation into the HTA system was funded by three research grants from the National Institutes of Health from 1973 through 1981. Data generated by this research was published in a ten-part series, “A Heterophile System in Human Renal Transplantation” that appeared in Transplantation, Transplantation Proceedings, and Surgery from 1973 through 1982. Click here for more information about these publications.

McDonald’s earliest attempt to create a network for the sharing of kidneys for transplant was the Metropolitan New Orleans Organ Procurement Program, funded through a grant from the Department of Health, Education and Welfare from 1971 through 1973. In 1986, the Department of Health and Human Services awarded a development grant for the "Unification of Organ Procurement        
Activities in Louisiana" project, which eventually became the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency.



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