I know we are all eager to meet in Madrid for the 27th International Congress of The Transplantation Society. The meeting will give us the opportunity to exchange ideas and reaffirm our camaraderie. Nowadays, we are all so busy and there are so many meetings that sometimes it is difficult to prioritize what to attend. All transplant disciplines are represented at the meeting; this gives us an opportunity to learn from experience with other organs and from colleagues with expertise in areas which apply to all organs. We have developed two new committees – heart/ lung and anesthesia/critical care; we will have an opportunity to hear from these disciplines as well as from experts in xenotransplantation, cell transplant, islet and pancreas, intestinal transplant and rehabilitation, organ donation and procurement, vascularized composite grafts, infectious disease, and pediatric transplantation. As the largest global organization of transplant professionals, TTS will also afford you the chance to network with friends from around the world. I look forward to seeing you there.
The Declaration of Istanbul Custodial Group will lead the celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the Declaration of Istanbul and give us all the opportunity to participate in commenting on their draft update of the Declaration. The idea is not to change the tenets of the Declaration, but to reinforce the ability to combat transplant tourism by promoting national self-sufficiency.
The Transplantation Society has been asked to respond to the proposed Global Kidney Exchange- GKE. The TTS Executive has publically stated our opposition to this proposal, but I wanted to ensure that our membership understands the rationale. The exchange involves an international arrangement by which a donor/recipient pair from a low or middle-income country is offered free transplantation and early postoperative care at a center within a high-income country. There is additional, but limited (in time), longer term support. Our major objections relate to the finite nature of long term follow up, the potential for commercialization of the donor from a low-income country, and the potential that such a system does not foster the development of self-sufficiency within the low or middle-income country.
As transplant activity develops around the world, we realize the central role that TTS continues to play in professional education, the development of protocols for optimal patient management, dissemination of discovery in transplant biology, and the ethical framework for transplant activities.
We provide advice regarding the role of governments in supporting transplant activities and the elements in developing national self-sufficiency. Our efforts have frequently been on a national basis as well as in international forums. We have been fortunate to advise the World Health Organization- WHO in their important work articulating ethical transplant activity.
Besides Madrid 2018, two important activities dictate your participation. We have just finished a poll of our members to give us an idea of where you would like to see the 2022 International Congress of The Transplantation Society held. The sites we examined were Buenos Aires, Istanbul and Montreal (listed alphabetically). The membership poll will be an important variable in consideration of the viability of each site. It was gratifying to see the large numbers of TTS members who took the time to let us know your preferences. We hope to announce the selected site by the time of the Madrid meeting.
The other major activity in which your participation is key is the TTS election of new council members and executives for the 2018-2020 term. You have been sent the slate of individuals who represent a wide breadth of specialties and regions; it is our responsibility to choose those individuals who represent what is best in our organization. Representation on Council is reflective of the different regions making up the global transplant community; the number of councilors representing each region is determined by the number of TTS members in the region. Our membership is rapidly growing in the Middle East and Latin America. The Transplantation Society is unique among transplantation groups in that we have an open election and EVERY individual on the ballot is voted on by EVERY member throughout the world. This approach serves to protect our global nature and allows us to elect individuals who will further our global perspective. We will announce the 2018-2020 election results by the time of the Madrid meeting.
With your help and participation, I am confident of the central role of The Transplantation Society in supporting and shaping transplant activity throughout the world. I look forward to seeing you in Madrid!
Nancy L. Ascher, M.D, PhD
President, The Transplantation Society
Professor, Department of Surgery