In The News - Volume 2 - Issue 11 - March 14, 2016

Hopkins study demonstrates survival benefits of incompatible living donor kidney transplants
A recent study of more than 1,000 transplants involving incompatible kidneys demonstrates that transplanting across certain antibodies may be a significantly better long-term option than waiting years for a compatible donor, researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine say.
The study, detailed in Thursday's issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, concluded that patients with "donor-specific" immune system antibodies against a living donor experience a survival rate of 76.5 percent if they undergo an incompatible live donor transplant. For patients who remain on dialysis waiting for a compatible organ to become available, the survival rate is 43.9 percent; it is 62.9 percent if such a compatible organ does become available.
Mar 9/16

British transplant doctors debate bringing babies who will die to term to get their organs
The NHS could ask pregnant women who are carrying babies that will not survive birth to bring the child to term so its organs may be harvested and used for transplants. The proposals were brought forward at the annual meeting of the British Transplantation Society and are seen as a way to address the serious shortage of donated organs in Britain – three people a day die waiting for an organ donation. In the past two years, only 11 babies have become organ donors.
A particular disorder being considered in the proposal is anencephaly, in which a portion of the brain does not develop in the womb. Anencephaly can be detected early on the pregnancy and leaves almost no chance of the child surviving more than a few hours after birth.
Under the new proposals the number of organs taken from babies could increase to 100 a year. At the annual meeting of the British Transplantation Society, transplant surgeon Dr Niaz Ahmad said "We are looking at rolling it out as a viable source of organ transplantation nationally… These organs can be transplanted, they work and they work long term."
March 7/16

First U.S. uterus transplant fails, patient has organ removed
(CNN)The first patient in the United States to receive a uterus transplant had to have the organ removed because of a complication, the Cleveland Clinic announced Wednesday.
The 26-year-old woman received the womb from a deceased donor during a nine-hour operation last month.
"We are saddened to share that our patient, Lindsey, recently experienced a sudden complication that led to the removal of her transplanted uterus," the clinic said.
The circumstance of the complication is under review. The clinic said that Lindsey, whose last name was not provided, was doing well and recovering.
"I just wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude towards all of my doctors. They acted very quickly to ensure my health and safety. Unfortunately, I did lose the uterus to complications. However, I am doing okay and appreciate all of your prayers and good thoughts," she said in a statement.
Mar 10/16

Stem Cell Breakthrough Could Let Us Grow New Human Eyes
A breakthrough in stem cells just brought us much closer to lab-grown human eyeballs.
Biologists led by Kohji Nishida at Osaka University in Japan have discovered a new way to nurture and grow the many separate tissues that make up the human eyeball, and the scientists need only a small sample adult skin to build them all. Using their new method, Nishida's team can grow retinas, corneas, the eye's lens, and more.
In a preliminary trial, the Japanese researchers cultured and grew sheathes of rabbit cornea—the transparent cover of the eye— that restored sight in blind rabbits born without fully-grown corneas. The research is published in the journal Nature.
Mar 9/16

University of Lincoln diabetes scientist conducting pancreas transplantation study
A scientist at the University of Lincoln is creating the largest ever collection of DNA from pancreas transplant donors and recipients to investigate how genetics affect transplantation in type 1 diabetes.
Dr. Matthew Simmonds has collected over 1,000 samples in the first project of its kind. The university hopes his research will make it possible to predict the success of individual grafts in future pancreas transplants. This will allow doctors to accurately assess if a pancreas transplant is beneficial for a patient.
Mar 8/16

Study Backs Kidney Transplant Method for Hardest-to-Match
Nearly 1 in 3 patients who needs a kidney transplant is especially hard to match, and new research suggests a painstaking treatment to help those patients tolerate an incompatible organ is worth considering.
More hospitals have begun offering so-called desensitization therapy to help high-risk patients who have a willing but non-matching living donor receive an organ their bodies otherwise would reject. Some specialty centers have reported success but it wasn't clear how well the approach would work when used widely. Now an analysis from nearly two dozen transplant centers found patients who took that chance had better long-term survival than those who stayed on the waiting list, whether or not they eventually found a match from a deceased donor. "Desensitization is still not for every transplant center," said senior author Dr. Dorry Segev of Johns Hopkins University, which helped pioneer incompatible transplants. But the findings show "you don't need a compatible living donor to make a transplant happen today — you just need a living donor."
The study is published in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine.
Mar 9/16

PGI first in country to retrieve organs from donors after cardiac death
The Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) claims to be the first institute in the country to perfor m organ transplants by retrieving organs from cardiac dead patients.
The practice of taking organs from cardiac dead patient (non-heart beating donor) is common in foreign, but in India, there are currently no protocols regarding organ donation following the cardiac arrest, after elective withdrawal of life support in terminal conditions.
In the country, organ transplants have been done after retrieving organs from brain dead donors or living donors, like in case of kidney transplant.
Mar 13/16

Study finds kidney transplant donation rates vary widely across Europe
A new Europe-wide survey shows significant country-to-country differences in rates of kidney transplant donors. The survey shows for example within the EU, there is a x5 variation in the number of kidney donors per country (per head of population). This variation is probably due to different legal and social standards across Europe.
Kidneys can fail for a variety of reasons, the most common being diabetes, high blood pressure, drug overdose, and physical injury. Kidney dialysis is often used as a treatment, but the best long-term solution is transplant, usually from a recently-deceased donor. Rates of Chronic Kidney Disease vary considerably across Europe, from 3% to 17% of the population, and are increasing. Demand for kidneys almost always exceeds possible supply, and each country manages transplants differently. Now a new survey, being presented at the European Association of Urology congress in Munich, has shown significant differences in the number of donor kidneys available in each country.
Mar 12/16

Only 24 heart transplants conducted in city hospitals since 2004
HYDERABAD: Despite available expertise and high success rate, heart transplants performed in city hospitals have remained at a mere 3% when compared to liver transplantation surgeries, statistics reveal.
While the total number of liver transplant surgeries (both live and cadaver) stand at over 600 across corporate and state-run hospitals since 2004, the number of heart transplants by cardiothoracic (CT) surgeons during this period stands at a measly 24. This includes two recent ones carried out at Apollo Hospital and Nims hospital.
Even the rate of harvesting of hearts under the Jeevandan scheme is poor. As against a record number of 196 livers harvested since the inception of the cadaver transplantation programme, the number of hearts that have undergone this process is only 19.
Mar 12/16

Insurance cover for organ transplants to go up
Nagpur: The government is working towards widening the scope of insurance under the Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayi Arogya Yojna (RGJAY) and may bring all organ transplants under its ambit. It is also considering revision of the insurance amount, said union surface transport minister Nitin Gadkari here on Saturday.
He was speaking at the inauguration of a continuing medical education (CME) for creating awareness about organ donation in doctors organized jointly by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and Wockhardt Hospital. On the occasion, Wockhardt also launched a helpline for organ donation. People can call up on 9604442277 for any queries about the subject.
Gadkari said that at present, not all organ transplants are covered under the RGJAY. Also, the amount ensured for each transplant as insurance is not appropriate. Hence, he said, the government is thinking of revising these rates. Talking about the ever increasing road accidents in the country and state, he appreciated the IMA's first ever initiative to promote organ donation as a movement. In Maharashtra alone, there are 2,500 identified spots with very high probability of accidents. The minister said that the government would be taking measures to make them accident free by redesigning the roads.
Mar 13/16

UChicago Medicine Surgeon Elected Vice President/President-Elect of OPTN/UNOS Board of Directors
Newswise — Yolanda T. Becker, MD, professor of surgery and director of the kidney and pancreas transplantation program at the University of Chicago Medicine, has been elected vice president/president-elect of the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network/United Network for Organ Sharing (OPTN/UNOS) board of directors.
United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) serves as the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) by contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Division of Transplantation. The OPTN brings together medical professionals, transplant recipients and donor families to develop national organ transplantation policy.
Becker will serve a one-year term beginning July 1, 2016 before becoming president of the organization in July 2017. As vice president/president-elect, she will also serve as vice chair of the OPTN/UNOS Executive Committee and UNOS’ Corporate Affairs Committee.
Mar 11/16

WHS students watch heart transplant operation via video
WATERFORD — Waterford High School students in James Jerome's AP Biology and Biology 2 class observed a heart transplant operation live via video conference with the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Ill. and Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill. During this time, students were able to interact with all members of the surgical team in real time. Students learned about the procedure itself, and each team member discussed the education and training required to work in their field as well as their responsibilities during the procedure.
Mar 7/16