In The News - Volume 1 - Issue 14 - October 16, 2015

The impact of pre-transplant body weight on short- and long-term outcomes after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation in adults using different weight classification tools
The impact of pre-transplant body weight on outcomes after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT) remains controversial, and available data are limited by the use of different classification tools and the arbitrary determination of cutoff values. Most working groups have applied similar but slightly different body mass index (BMI) classifications according to the World Health Organization (WHO BMI) and the remainder employed very different cutoff values from the ratio of actual to ideal body weight (IBW). Furthermore, the follow-up period for outcomes considered in one part of the studies covered at most the first post transplant year.

Gene-editing record smashed in pigs
Researchers modify more than 60 genes in effort to enable organ transplants into humans.
For decades, scientists and doctors have dreamed of creating a steady supply of human organs for transplantation by growing them in pigs. But concerns about rejection by the human immune system and infection by viruses embedded in the pig genome have stymied research. Now, by modifying more than 60 genes in pig embryos — ten times more than have been edited in any other animal — researchers believe they may have produced a suitable non-human organ donor.

Biological techniques: Kidney tissue grown from induced stem cells
Engineered human cells that can give rise to every cell type have been induced to generate structures that resemble an embryonic kidney. This advance charts a course towards growing transplantable kidneys in culture.

19 infected by Hep C in SGH had transplants
Last year, 57 people got kidney transplants, with 40 getting the organs from living donors. The transplants came with the hope of many years of good-quality life.
But for 19 transplant patients who spent time at Singapore General Hospital's (SGH's) renal ward, this hope took a hit as they were infected with hepatitis C - which could lead to liver diseases.
Of these, nine had got their new kidneys only within the past year.
The infected patients were aged 24 to 70, with the majority in their 50s and 60s.

Astellas Pharma Canada, Inc. Partners with Canadian Society of Transplantation
MARKHAM, ON, Oct. 8. 2015 /CNW/ - Canadian transplant researchers will receive an additional boost thanks to a new collaboration between Astellas Pharma Canada, Inc. (Astellas) and the Canadian Society of Transplantation (CST).
Astellas has committed $200,000 over a two-year period to launch the Astellas CST Clinical Research Grant Program.  This program will support Canadian investigators in the field of transplantation through a peer-reviewed research grant competition, with the ultimate goal of improving long-term outcomes and quality of life for transplant recipients.  The primary focus for the inaugural year will be clinical research in solid organ transplantation.

BK Virus Screening in Transplant Patients May Be Suboptimal
SAN DIEGO—Late-onset BK virus nephopathy (BKVN) in kidney transplantrecipients is associated with less adherence to screening guidelines for the virus compared with early-onset BKVN, investigators reported at ID Week.
The finding implies that late-onset BKVN represents progression of undiagnosed earlier-onset BK virus infection, concluded Kathryn Whitaker, MD, and colleagues at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Global Organ Transplant Immunosuppressant Drugs Market to be suppressed by Dearth of Donor Organs
The global organ transplant immunosuppressant drugs market has been going through a rough patch since last few years. The high cost of organ transplantation, coupled with increasing incidences of infection post-transplant, has affected the worldwide market for organ transplant immunosuppressant drugs significantly in recent times.In 2014, the global organ transplant immunosuppressant drugs market stood at US$5.1 bn. Impacted deeply by the dearth of donor organs, this market is likely to further decline at a -5.0% CAGR between 2015 and 2023 and relegate to US$3.2 bn by 2023.

Organ donation law changes finalised in Welsh assembly
New organ donation rules which presume consent have been finalised by AMs.
A system of presumed consent will take effect on 1 December, where people will have to opt-out if they do not want their organs used after death.
Living donors who lack the mental capacity to express a view could also be deemed to consent to donation by experts acting in their best interests.
Health Minister Mark Drakeford said the "fundamental change" gave hope to over 200 people in Wales needing new organs.

As per preliminary findings from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention investigation, not all the four organ transplant patients were infected with mold at UPMC Presbyterian and Montefiore hospitals. The federal agency said that the infections seem to differ when it comes to mode of transmission.
The four transplant patients suffered from the three types of mold in 2014. Out of four, three have died and the fourth one remains hospitalized. Out of four, two patients had suffered lung infection, one had a skin infection and one had an infected that had spread on his entire body.

Ireland has joined the fight against human organ trafficking
Ireland has become the 16th European country to sign up to the Council of Europe convention against trafficking in human organs.
Organ trafficking is often linked to organised crime and usually involves wealthy recipients travelling to mainly developing countries where people sell their organs.
In 2012, more than 68,000 people were waiting for a kidney transplant in Europe.
The World Health Organisation estimates that some 10,000 black market transplants are carried out every year.

Genome Wide Testing May Make Transplantation More Personalized
Transplanted individuals are typically on potent immunosuppression drugs for the rest of their lives, as they have 3.5 million to 10 million variants difference from an unrelated transplanted donor organ. Such populations would certainly benefit from large well-powered genetic studies but only 3 transplant genome-wide genotyping studies comprising a few hundred individuals have been published.
The papers outline the resources in hand for the International Genetics & Translational Research in Transplantation Network, comprising 22 studies to date (since the publication it has now expanded to 25 studies and > 32,000 subjects with genome-wide genotyping data). We show significant statistical power in iGeneTRAiN to detect main effect association signals across regions such as the MHC region (which harbors the HLA Class I/II regions which are well established to associate with transplantation outcomes).

Liver transplantation prolongs DFS in pediatric HBL, HCC
Liver transplantation combined with chemotherapy provided long-term DFS in pediatric patients with advanced hepatoblastoma and hepatocellular carcinoma, according to the results of a retrospective analysis.
Favorable outcomes with transplantation persisted even among patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) larger than Milan and University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) criteria for transplant eligibility, results also showed.

Johns Hopkins biologist leads research shedding light on stem cells
A Johns Hopkins University biologist has led a research team reporting progress in understanding the mysterious shape-shifting ways of stem cells, which have vast potential for medical research and disease treatment.
In a research paper to be published in the journal Cell Reports on Oct. 13, Xin Chen, an associate professor of biology in the university's Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, and six co-authors report on how stem cells are affected by their immediate surroundings. The scientists found that an enzyme in the spot where stem cells are found can help nurture a greater abundance of these cells by sustaining them in their original state, and by promoting other cells to lose their specialized traits and transform into stem cells.