In The News - Volume 1 - Issue 19 - November 22, 2015

Outcomes After Transplantation are the Same for Patients Who are Obese and Those with Lower BMI
SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 15, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Researchers from the Oregon Health & Science University presented a study at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases that calls into question the prevailing practice of excluding morbidly obese patients for liver transplantation.
Paragraph before: By examining the U.S. national transplant database, principal investigators; Barry Schlansky, MD, MPH; C. Kristian Enestvedt, MD, FACS and their team observed that obese patients experienced the same risk of dying after liver transplantation as normal weight patients. Past research suggested that very obese patients fare worse after liver transplantation, leading to recommendations to avoid transplant in these patients. The current research shows that there has been an improvement in outcomes for very obese patients receiving liver transplants over the past decade.
Nov 15/15 (Nov 16 Google alerts)

Underestimating Women's Renal Function Puts Them at Lower Priority on the Transplantation List
Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is the rate of filtered fluid through the kidney. Serum creatinine is an indicator of renal health, and is used in equations of GFR estimation, as well as in MELD score. Because women have lower muscle mass, they routinely have a lower level of creatinine production. A more accurate assessment of a patient's renal function could be obtained by measuring glomerular filtration. 
Researchers from the Mayo Clinic and Stanford University presented data at The Liver Meeting; the annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, that demonstrate that the use of creatinine as an indicator of kidney health in MELD scores results in a bias against women waiting for liver transplantation.
Nov 15/15 (Nov 16 Google Alerts)

Lung transplant criteria biased against shorter patients
NEW YORK NY (November 16, 2015)--Short people have several health advantages over tall people, including lower risk for cancer and heart disease, and longer life expectancy. But there's at least one health-related downside to being small: the odds of getting a lung transplant are considerably lower.
According to a report by Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) researchers, adult lung transplant candidates of short stature receive lung transplants at lower rates--and have higher rates of death and respiratory failure while awaiting a transplant-- compared to those of average height. Women are particularly affected by this disparity, since they are generally shorter than men.
Nov 16/15

Implantable Artificial Kidney Offers Economical Alternative To Dialysis And Organ Transplant: How It Works
The Kidney Project, a collaboration between the Vanderbilt University and the University of California aims to revolutionize ESRD treatment. Led by Dr. William H. Fissell and Dr. Shuvo Roy, a team of researchers developed a new implantable bioartificial kidney that improves the health and financial implications of ESRD, particularly among patients who rely on dialysis treatments that can accumulate an annual cost of up to $89,000.
Nov 17/15

Artificial Pancreas Therapy Shows Promise In Pilot Study
A new study shows promise in future diabetes cure. Researchers have developed a functional artificial pancreas system that worked well in real-world clinical trials. This study will open doors to innovative technology in the treatment of pancreas-related diseases.
The researchers combined artificial pancreas technology and transplantation of islets cells, the basic working unit of the pancreas responsible for producing insulin. In people with diabetes, the pancreas is not producing enough insulin or nothing at all, as in the case of Type 1 diabetes.
For the study, published in the journal American Journal of Transplantation, 14 patients with pancreatitis underwent surgery to transplant an artificial pancreas or receive auto-islet transplants.
Nov 21/15

Liver transplantation: Evading antigens—ABO-incompatible liver transplantation
Whereas the status of the liver as privileged and exempt from humoral rejection has fallen, attempts at breaching the blood group barrier during transplantation have continued. Previously restricted to paediatric patients and emergencies, advances in immunosuppression protocols have improved outcomes to the point that ABO-incompatible liver transplantation might be more widely used in adults.
Nov 18/15

When Waiting For a Transplant, New Research Reveals it Helps to be Rich
Researchers from Columbia University analyzed data for the thousands of patients on heart, lung, liver and kidney transplant lists from 2000 to 2013 to see the number of people on more than one transplant list. Because different transplant centers have varying wait times, it’s beneficial for patients to put themselves on multiple lists for a better chance at getting an organ. But the researchers found only 2 percent of those waiting for a heart transplant were on multiple lists. They found 3.4 percent were multiple-listed for lungs, 6 percent for liver and 12 percent for kidneys.
Nov 19/15

Stem cell-derived kidneys connect to blood vessels when transplanted into mice
Washington, DC (November 19, 2015) -- Various research groups are collecting different types of cells and turning them into induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells that can then generate diverse types of cells and tissues in the body. Now investigators have transplanted kidney tissue made from human iPS cells into a mouse kidney, and they found that the animal's blood vessels readily connect to the human tissue. The advance, which marks an important step towards creating a urine-producing kidney through regenerative medicine, is described in a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN).
Nov 19/15

Uterus transplants could let men get pregnant — but there's a catch
Although theoretically this would be possible, it would be a huge surgical and endocrinologic undertaking and involve not just the creation of a vagina but also surgical reconstruction of the whole pelvis by someone skilled in transgender surgery.
After this procedure and the grafting of a donor uterus, a complex hormone regimen would be required to support a pregnancy prior to and after embryo transfer (although this could be done, as we provide similar hormone regimens to menopausal women to support a pregnancy).
Nov 19/15

A Quiet Revolution In Organ Transplants
A quiet revolution is underway in human transplantation. Four children have been born to women in Sweden who were given a uterus by their mother or sister. Face and hand transplants have been performed in France, Turkey, China, Spain and the United States with the latest face transplant being announced yesterday at my institution, NYU Langone. Plans are in the works to use cadaver sources for uteri. Voiceboxes have also been done and teams are gearing up to transplant the penis, ovary and fallopian tube. Some of these parts can come from the living but all of them will primarily come from the newly dead.
Nov 17/15

Organ donation: Transplant surgeons warn over donor law change
Senior surgeons have warned that attempts to introduce a system where people are automatically placed on the organ donor register could reduce public willingness to donate.
The second stage of the Human Transplantation Bill was passed in the Northern Ireland Assembly on Monday.
It would introduce a so-called soft "opt-out" system.
But Health Minister Simon Hamilton said transplant surgeons had written to him urging caution about any law change.
Nov 16/15

Bowel and kidney transplant by The Austin Hospital is an Australian first
SURGEONS have performed Australia’s first combined small bowel and kidney transplant and allowed a donor to give a Melbourne dad a whole new life with his family.
For the past 12 years Tim Boyle, 47, had spent his days just trying to stay alive after a twisted bowel meant almost all of his small intestine had to be removed.
Nov 18/15

First Colorado heart-kidney transplant performed at University of Colorado Hospital
For the second time this year, University of Colorado Hospital has performed a groundbreaking double-organ transplant — efforts that hospital officials say will help to expand its reputation as a regional center for complex care.
A team of specialists in cardiology, nephrology and transplant surgery gave a 53-year-old patient both a new heart and a new kidney — the first dual surgery of that type ever performed in Colorado — during the course of a 14.5-hour procedure on Nov. 7. Organ recipient Sam Johns left the Aurora hospital Tuesday to begin a cardiac rehabilitation program.
Nov 18/15