2012 Recognition Award Recipients

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The 2012 TTS Recognition Awards were presented at the 24th International Congress of The Transplantation Society in July to individuals who have made a major international impact in the field of transplantation

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Luc Noël, France

Luc Noël received his medical degree from the University of Grenoble and specialized in clinical biology, haematology and blood transfusion in Lyon and Paris. As a consultant, he contributed to the reorganization of the French Transfusion Service, culminating in a single national blood transfusion organization, the Etablissement français du sang. In particular, he contributed to setting up the system of vigilance and surveillance of adverse reactions known as haemovigilance and to optimizing the clinical use of blood components. In 1999, he was appointed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as Coordinator of Blood Transfusion Safety. In 2004, he led the Clinical Procedures (CPR) unit, responsible "for ensuring efficacy, safety and equity in the provision of clinical procedures in surgery, anaesthetics, obstetrics and orthopaedics, particularly at the district hospital level". The CPR unit is also "in charge of promoting the appropriate effective and safe use of cell, tissue and organ transplantation, including surveillance of risks, in particular in xenotransplantation trials.” A global meeting organized in Madrid in November 2003 led to Resolution WHA57.18 of the 57th World Health Assembly (WHA) in May 2004 that revived the topic of transplantation at the WHO. In the last 5 years, the WHO, with the help of Member States and civil society, including the scientific and professional community, has worked at raising awareness of access, safety and ethical issues in cell, tissue and organ transplantation.

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Gabriel Danovitch, USA

Gabriel Danovitch is recognized as one of the foremost educators in clinical organ transplantation—at his own institution at UCLA, in the US and internationally. Dr. Danovitch received his medical degree from St Bartholomew’s Hospital of the University of London; he completed his residency training in London and in Bersheeba, Israel and his nephrology fellowship training at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. He served on the faculty at Albert Einstein and then directed the nephrology unit at Soroka Hospital in Israel. He is currently Professor of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

(Distinguished Professor as of July 2012) and is the longtime Medical Director of its renowned Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program. Dr. Danovitch has devoted his recent career to various aspects of clinical kidney transplantation. He has published over 180 original articles and 50 book chapters. He has mentored a generation of transplant physicians and leads on of the longest functioning kidney transplant medicine fellowships in the US. Dr. Danovitch is an internationally recognized authority on transplant immunosuppression, clinical transplant care, transplant ethics and public policy. He has served on the board of the American Society of Transplantation and the United Network for Organ Donation (UNOS) and is the current Chair of its International Relations committee. He is a founder member of the Custodian Group of Declaration of Istanbul on Organ Trafficking and Transplant Tourism. He is a Medical Director of OneLegacy, the organ procurement agency of Southern California. His classic textbook, the “Handbook of Kidney Transplantation”, now in its fifth edition and translated into four languages, has become required reading for those entering the field.

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Pierre A. Clavien, Switzerland

Pierre Clavien completed his medical study and surgical residency at the University of Geneva and Basel, Switzerland; afterwards performing a PhD in Immunology at the University of Toronto, Canada, on endothelial cell injury during organ preservation. He then completed an ASTS accredited fellowship in liver transplantation and the Toronto General Hospital and Hospital for Sick Children, and was subsequently recruited for a junior faculty position. He then moved in 1994 to Duke University, NC, as Chief of the Division of Transplantation. At Duke, he started as an Assistant Professor and reached the rank of full Professor within five years. In 2001, he moved back to Switzerland to take the position of Chairman of the department of Surgery at the University of Zurich. He also created the Swiss center for HPB surgery and liver transplantation. Since 1994, he has run an active laboratory, continuously funded through NIH, Swiss National Foundation and other competitive funding. His main contribution has been in liver regeneration, partial liver grafting, and organ preservation, with publications in Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine. His laboratory made the discovery of serotonin as a key mediator of regeneration (Science, 2008). He has also been active in clinical research with many studies related to transplantation, including several investigator-driven randomized controlled trials. Dr. Clavien has also developed a simple system, the “Clavien Classification”, to evaluate complications after surgery. This system is currently the gold standard to record complications after many procedures, such as the evaluation of the results of living related liver transplantation in a large US cohort study. He is on the editorial board of most transplant and surgical journals and was the editor of the forum on liver transplantation for the Journal of Hepatology. He is currently one of four associate editors (the first from Europe) of Ann Surg and the Journal of Hepatology. He has also written several books, including “Medical Care of the Liver Transplant Patient” and a large atlas of upper GI and liver surgery. Finally, he is President of the European-African HPB Association and President-Elect of the European Surgical Association and the Swiss Society of Transplantation.

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Yves Vanrenterghem, Belgium

Yves Vanrenterghem has devoted a life-long career to clinical research in transplantation medicine. As a renal physician and head of the department of Nephrology at the University Hospitals Leuven, Belgium, he has been involved during the last three decades in the examination of novel immunosuppressive compounds in renal transplantation in numerous randomized controlled trials. He has designed and advised on many phase III and phase IV clinical studies in drug development, as principal investigator or chair. He has authored more than 340 scientific publications and book chapters, including 80 papers on clinical trials. Dr. Vanrenterghem is a world-renowned invited speaker at many large transplantation conferences including the International Transplantation Congress, the American Transplant Congress, the European Society of Organ Transplantation, the European Society of Nephrology, Dialysis and Transplantation, and the International Society of Nephrology. His clinical expertise focuses on (novel) immunosuppression, minimization protocols and complications of transplantation. He has been President of Eurotransplant for over a decade, for which he received an Honorary Award from the Belgian King Albert II. He has been councilor of the TTS for Europe and has been member and chair of many international conferences on transplantation and editorial board member of several scientific journals.

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Henrik Ekberg, Sweden

Henrik Ekberg is Senior Transplant Surgeon at the University Hospital in Malmö, Sweden, and Professor of Transplant Surgery at Lund University, Sweden. Designed by Dr Henrik Ekberg about 10 years ago, the ELiTE-Symphony study is the largest and most important investigator driven clinical trial in kidney transplantation in recent years. The study had already attracted a great interest at its initiation and 83 sites in 15 countries participated, enrolling 1,645 patients. The aim of the study was to compare reduced doses of calcineurin inhibitors or mTOR inhibitors in addition to induction and mycophenolate mofetil—the regimens of greatest interest at this time. The one-year results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2007 and the three-year results in the American Journal of Transplantation in 2009 (both by H Ekberg et al). More than 20,000 hard copies were ordered before the first publication. Many sites all over the world have taken the Symphony Study results into account when updating their immunosuppression protocols. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considered the study results when accepting the tacrolimus/MMF combination as a comparator regimen in clinical trials in May 2009. Ad hoc analyses of the study database have followed and ten more publications appeared in 2009-2011. Analyses were performed on variation of results in different countries (Demirbas et al), pharmacokinetics (Grinyo et al), target concentration compliance (Ekberg et al), quality of life (Oppenheimer et al), uric acid (Meier-Kriesche et al), toxicity of reduced doses (Ekberg et al), acute rejection risk factors (Frei et al), metabolic syndrome (Claes et al), tacrolimus concentration/MMF dosing and renal function (Ekberg et al), and pharmacogenetics (Lloberas et al). In brief, the Symphony Study was an outstanding clinical trial with major impact on current clinical practice.

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Kathryn J. Wood, United Kingdom

Kathryn Wood is Professor of Immunology in the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences, University of Oxford where she runs the Transplantation Research Immunology Group. Achievements in transplantation immunology by Dr. Kathryn Wood are enormous. Since she joined the Nuffield Department of Surgery at the Radcliffe Hospital in 1982, she first focused on the cellular mechanisms of rejection cascade. The research, then, gradually moved to immunological tolerance, with which she determined the significance of regulatory T cells, so called CD25+ CD4+ FoxP3 T cells, and associated molecules and cytokines in tolerance induction. Her interest then moved from experimental immunology to clinical transplantation immunology. Along with confirming the immunological determined in rodents, she explored those in clinical cases, particularly how to induce and expand regulatory T cells, and determine biological or genetic markers for tolerance. Recently, she engages to explore the impact of memory T cells, and the role of stem cell biology in transplantation surgery. Along with these past achievements, she has been honored by many national and international awards. She is a former President of The Transplantation Society, and acting as a Councilor for various distinguished scientific societies.

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Hans Sollinger, USA

Hans Sollinger was proposed for this award in recognition of his monumental work in making RS-61443 (now CellCept) available as an immunosuppressive agent. In 1988, Dr. Tony Allison, representing Syntex, approached Dr. Sollinger to test a mycophenolate acid derivative termed RS-61443. At this time, neither Syntex nor any other investigator had any evidence that the compound could be used in a clinical setting. Dr. Sollinger agreed to carry out experimental testing and used a dog model as a precursor for possible future human studies. Early on, Dr. Sollinger recognized that the dose recommended by Syntex was much too high to be tolerated by the Gl tract. Dr. Sollinger accordingly systematically lowered the dose of RS-61443 and combined it with lower doses of Cyclosporin A and Prednisone. This regimen proved to be highly successful and Dr. Sollinger thus provided the first evidence of RS-61443's potential clinical efficacy. Dr. Sollinger also predicted and demonstrated that RS-61443 lacked nephro-, neuro- and hepatotoxicity. Syntex was initially reluctant to develop RS-61443, but after a special meeting where Dr. Sollinger presented his data and made a strong recommendation to proceed, Syntex reversed course and drug development was carried out. Dr. Sollinger subsequently performed Phase I/II and the pivotal Phase III trials, which brought the drug through the stringent FDA approval in record time. RS-61443 continues to be used across the entire spectrum of organ transplantation. It is estimated that more than 500,000 patients world-wide have received the drug and it has become one of the most successful drugs in the history of transplantation. The fact of the matter is, that if it were not for Dr. Sollinger's scientific prowess, initiative, perseverance, and steadfast leadership, CellCept would most likely never have become available for the immunosuppressive management of countless thousands of transplant recipients of all transplantable organs. This represents one of the major contributions to organ transplantation over the past 50 years.

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Shaf Keshavjee, Canada

Shaf Keshavjee is a thoracic surgeon, Director of the Toronto Lung Transplant Program, Surgeon-in-Chief and James Wallace McCutcheon Chair in Surgery at University Health Network, and Professor in the Division of Thoracic Surgery and Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto. He completed his medical training at the University of Toronto in 1985. He subsequently trained in General Surgery, Cardiac Surgery and Thoracic Surgery at the University of Toronto, followed by fellowship training at Harvard University and the University of London for airway surgery and heart-lung transplantation, respectively. He joined the faculty at the University of Toronto in 1994 and was promoted to full professor in 2002. He served as Chair of the Division of Thoracic Surgery at the University of Toronto from 2004 to 2010 and was the inaugural holder of the Pearson-Ginsberg Chair in Thoracic Surgery. He is a scientist in the McEwen Center for Regenerative Medicine at UHN. His experience in the pioneering days of lung transplantation in Toronto stimulated him to develop a career in lung transplantation. He leads a leading research team and is widely published in the field. His research interest is in lung injury related to transplantation. His current work involves the study of molecular diagnostics and gene therapy strategies to repair organs and to engineer superior organs for transplantation.

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Camille Nelson Kotton, USA

Camille Kotton has a leadership role in international transplantation infectious diseases. In the field of vaccine development, Dr. Kotton developed novel oral Salmonella and Listeria-based vaccines for HIV and influenza. In preliminary human studies, excellent immune responses have been observed. She has also been the lead investigator on multicenter clinical projects on influenza vaccination in the immunocompromised host. Dr. Kotton has established a dedicated Transplant and Compromised Host clinic to serve the Massachusetts General Hospital community with numerous referrals for meticulous and expert clinical care coordinated with medical and surgical colleagues. Her reviews on zoonoses and vaccination have appeared in the Transplant ID and general ID literature. Dr. Kotton’s greatest strength has been as a leader in international education. As President, Dr. Kotton has revitalized the Transplant Infectious Disease section of The Transplantation Society with growing active membership, a strong journal and, perhaps most importantly, well-attended international meetings. She has been the prime organizer of these fully international meetings with strong programs focused on common challenges as well as major problems in underserved areas of the world. She has been invited to travel worldwide to share her expertise. It is a tribute to Dr. Kotton that she brought together the major experts in the field around consensus guidelines for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cytomegalovirus—which are a centerpiece of clinical programs worldwide.

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Faissal A.M. Shaheen, Saudi Arabia

Faissal AM Shaheen is the Founder/Director of the Jeddah Kidney Center since 1990—one of the largest transplantation centers in Saudi Arabia. Since 1993, he is also the Director General of the Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation, the national supervising organ procurement center in Saudi Arabia. Dr. Shaheen is an Editor for various journals, including the Saudi Journal of Kidney Diseases and Transplantation, Experimental and Clinical Transplantation, and Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation and is an author of 160 full papers and 168 abstracts. He is a member of 28 national and international societies, and has served on the Councils of The Transplantation Society (Councilor), the International Society for Organ Donation and Procurement (Councilor), the Middle East Society of Organ Transplantation (President and Councilor), the World Health Organization-Declaration of Istanbul Custodian Group (Councilor), and the Madrid Consultant Conference on Organizing Global Organ Donation (Steering Committee Member). Dr. Shaheen works to exchange expertise in the field of organ donation and transplantation within the Middle East region and serves as a representative of Saudi Arabia on the Gulf Cooperation Council organ transplantation committee to establish successful organ sharing program in these countries. His main areas of interest include updating guidelines and establishing policies and procedures for organ donation and transplantation, treatment of chronic kidney diseases, renal replacement therapy and prophylaxis.

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