Organ Donation & Transplant Matters Resources
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Organ Donation & Transplant Matters Resources
Combining reports, research findings and topic reviews
Curated by Deborah Verran
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Growing and Testing Drugs on Dozens of Tiny Guts at Once |

Growing and Testing Drugs on Dozens of Tiny Guts at Once | | Organ Donation & Transplant Matters Resources | Scoop.it

In a demonstration of where the field of organ-on-a-chip technology is inevitably going, MIMETAS, a company developing organ-on-chip technology out of Leiden has revealed it's gut on a chip device.


For more on the story click on the banner headline

Deborah Verran's insight:
An example of where the organ on a chip technology has got to for the purpose of in vitro testing of pharmaceutical agents
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Iron nanoparticles could bring organs back from a deep freeze in the future

Iron nanoparticles could bring organs back from a deep freeze in the future | Organ Donation & Transplant Matters Resources | Scoop.it

While deep-freezing techniques exist to preserve organs for long periods of time, the tissue can get damaged when being reheated, hence making it an impractical solution for transplants. Researchers at the University of Minnesota believe they have solved this problem thanks to tiny microscopic particles. The full scientific report of this research can be accessed via the following link-


http://stm.sciencemag.org/content/9/379/eaah4586


However as summarized in this other online article, this new process of successfully freezing and rewarming is currently limited to small pieces of tissue which have been treated with these new nanoparticles -


http://sco.lt/8D9anR





Via ANDREAS SOFRONIOU
Deborah Verran's insight:
Currently this technique has been shown to work for only small amounts of tissue. Hence it will be quite a while before it becomes evident whether this process can be applied to organs.
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Air-Powered Robotic Sleeve Wraps Around Your Heart To Keep It Pumping

Air-Powered Robotic Sleeve Wraps Around Your Heart To Keep It Pumping | Organ Donation & Transplant Matters Resources | Scoop.it
Researchers from Harvard University and Boston Children's Hospital have developed an innovative robotic sleeve that fits around the heart. As outlined in this online report  the device (pictured) has been successfully trialed in large animals and hence satisfies proof of concept criteria. However in order for the device to meet stringent regulatory standards prior to then being marketed it must now undergo prospective trials in humans.

One advantage of this particular device is that it wraps around the heart and hence is not in contact with circulating blood which can lead to other problems such as excessive clotting.

The relevant research article which has now been published in Science Translational Medicine can be accessed via the following link-

Deborah Verran's insight:
This is an interesting new type of cardiac assist device which now needs to be trialed in humans
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Is There a Better Way to Allocate Organs to Transplant Patients?

Is There a Better Way to Allocate Organs to Transplant Patients? | Organ Donation & Transplant Matters Resources | Scoop.it
This opinion piece is about one important issue patients face whilst on the waiting list for a kidney within the United States. That is whether to accept the first offer they receive of a donor kidney or to wait for a better offer. This conundrum is partly behind the current rate of discards for deceased donor kidneys within the United States.

Researchers who were interviewed for this story have come up with two more ideas for changing this system where people linger on waitlists while a significant percentage of kidneys continue to be discarded.

One option is to provide both the physicians and the patient's with a lot more data on perceived waiting times for differing organ allocation scenarios.

This article will be of interest to healthcare professionals as well as patients.
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Head transplant team’s new animal tests fail to convince critics

Head transplant team’s new animal tests fail to convince critics | Organ Donation & Transplant Matters Resources | Scoop.it

The latest report of research performed on animals in preparation for the first possible so called head transplant has not convinced critics of the procedure. A dog has reportedly recovered the ability to walk after an injection into its damaged spinal cord, but some have criticized the standard of the study as outlined in this online report.


Although there are plans for the first head transplant to be performed in China in 2017, concerns continue to be expressed around both the safety and efficacy of the procedure. Of note the patient will actually undergo a body transplant, that is their body will be replaced.


There are significant barriers to this procedure being successful in practice, of which 5 are identified in this online article posted via Business Insider-

http://www.businessinsider.com.au/italian-surgeon-head-transplant-dog-experiment-2016-9?r=UK&IR=T




Deborah Verran's insight:
The latest news on the so called head transplant which may be performed in China in 2017
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Exposure To Industrial Printing Chemical Raises Risk Of Bile Duct Cancer

Exposure To Industrial Printing Chemical Raises Risk Of Bile Duct Cancer | Organ Donation & Transplant Matters Resources | Scoop.it
1,2-dichloropropane, a chemical used in the printing industry, turns carcinogenic when it is metabolized by the liver and then excreted into bile.

This finding has been confirmed in research which has now been published in the Journal Nature-


This important research was undertaken following confirmation of there being an increased incidence of cholangiocarcinoma, particularly  in individuals who had worked in the printing industry in Japan. Hence the attention of the researchers was directed towards elucidating the possible underlying mechanism as well as establishing which chemicals were most likely involved.
Deborah Verran's insight:
This important research now establishes that there is a link between chemicals that have been used in some industrial processes and the risk of development of this particular rare form of bile duct/liver cancer.
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BPoD | Colourful Cornea

BPoD | Colourful Cornea | Organ Donation & Transplant Matters Resources | Scoop.it
Colourful Cornea - Biomedical pictures for May 2016.

This close up image is of a mouse cornea with the cell nuclei colored blue. Scientists are studying lymphangiogenesis which can contribute to abnormalities of the cornea, including after corneal transplantation. 
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Scientists Just 3D Printed a Transplantable Human Ear

Scientists Just 3D Printed a Transplantable Human Ear | Organ Donation & Transplant Matters Resources | Scoop.it

Scientists have developed an innovative 3D bioprinter capable of generating replacement tissue that’s strong enough to withstand transplantation.

 

However there remain limitations as to what type of tissue can be bioprinted and why this continues to be the case.

 

However in this detailed online report an outline is provided as to how a bioprinter was used to help generate the various tissues that were then implanted into animals to see if they remained viable.

 

A video of the ITOP system in action can be viewed via the following link-

https://youtu.be/wFFkBW7acOI

 

Deborah Verran's insight:

Another small step has been achieved as part of the ongoing efforts to try and reliably bio-print human tissues. At this stage the possibility of being able to bio-print human organs for transplantation purposes remains a distant goal.

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Translating Evidence Into Practice via Social Media: A Mixed-Methods Study

Translating Evidence Into Practice via Social Media: A Mixed-Methods Study | Organ Donation & Transplant Matters Resources | Scoop.it

Background: Approximately 80% of research evidence relevant to clinical practice never reaches the clinicians delivering patient care. There are a number of reasons as to why this is the case.

 

However it may be possible to improve on this statistic via leveraging social media. This particular mixed methods study involved participants in a number of countries around the world  and adds to the current knowledge on the effective use of social media for educational purposes. The research study involved the streaming of curated information to a group of healthcare professionals over a period of time with both pre-test and post-test surveys being undertaken. 

 

For more information on this research as well as what the results were click on the banner headline.

Deborah Verran's insight:

This article will be of interest to healthcare professionals who have roles in knowledge management and knowledge sharing.

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Researchers achieving improved outcomes with Pig-to-Primate Organ Transplants - MIT Technology Review

Researchers achieving improved outcomes with Pig-to-Primate Organ Transplants - MIT Technology Review | Organ Donation & Transplant Matters Resources | Scoop.it

A biotech company’s genetically engineered pigs are now setting new records for outcomes as the result of xenotransplantation of some of the organs into primates.

 

It appears that years of laboratory research are now beginning to deliver promising results with the use of these particular animal organs for transplantation purposes. It may be possible that if the results continue to improve that trials in humans may be contemplated in the not too distant future.

Deborah Verran's insight:

Good summary of the current status of xenotransplantation. The full article can be accessed by clicking on the banner headline.

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An unexpected microbe is lethal for some organ transplant recipents - Science /AAAS

An unexpected microbe is lethal for some organ transplant recipents - Science /AAAS | Organ Donation & Transplant Matters Resources | Scoop.it

A just released research study points the finger at a certain type of bacteria that can cause a lethal increase in the ammonia levels of lung transplant recipients which can then lead on to death.

 

For the first time as the result of scientific detective work the organisms concerned (Ureaplasma type bacteria), appear to become problematic for lung transplant recipients if they become infected with them.

Deborah Verran's insight:

A significant break through in determining a cause for some of the unexplained deaths in lung transplant recipients

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Bionic reconstruction gives men first prosthetic hands controlled by mind

Bionic reconstruction gives men first prosthetic hands controlled by mind | Organ Donation & Transplant Matters Resources | Scoop.it

Three Austrians have had their injured limbs amputated, then nerves and muscles have been transplanted from the leg to the arm in each case so that the patients could learn to control their new prosthetic hands.

 

This is the online report summarizing the results of research that has just been published online in the medical journal The Lancet. This new approach to replacing damaged limbs with a hybrid of the patients own tissues and robotic type technology appears to be extremely promising.

 

A video of the functional results with use of the new bionic arm in practice can be viewed via the link which can be accessed by clicking on the banner headline or via the following link-

http://www.theguardian.com/science/video/2015/feb/25/world-first-bionic-hand-controlled-by-mind-video

 

 

Deborah Verran's insight:

Extraordinary development. This approach avoids the risks associated with life long anti-rejection therapy which is required for patients who may instead undergo arm transplantation.

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Don't Take 'No' for an Answer: An Experiment with Actual Organ Donor Registrations in the USA

Don't Take 'No' for an Answer: An Experiment with Actual Organ Donor Registrations in the USA | Organ Donation & Transplant Matters Resources | Scoop.it

Results of this research by Judd E. Kessler and Alvin B Roth outline the impact of active choice on decision making with respect to organ donation. Some of the findings may come as a surprise.

 

It appears that there are a number of findings that emanate from this research-

 

a) it is useful to encourage people to join organ donor registries

b) it is important to keep asking the question about organ donation

c) however active choice can also lead to a downside which is manifest by the rate of 'family refusals' at the time that the potential scenario then becomes a reality

Deborah Verran's insight:

Thoughtful analysis of an important issue posted online via Harvard Business. Professor Alvin Roth is a Nobel Prize laureate.

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Tissue-engineered trachea from a 3D-printed scaffold enhances whole-segment tracheal repair

Tissue-engineered trachea from a 3D-printed scaffold enhances whole-segment tracheal repair | Organ Donation & Transplant Matters Resources | Scoop.it
In this latest research into the bioengineering of a trachea (windpipe), scientists have developed a biodegradeable scaffold which is then populated with cells.

The new trachea was then surgically implanted into rabbits and the rabbits observed for complications.

This is a proof of concept study, i.e. it allows the researchers to ascertain that the bioengineered trachea can safely be transplanted. However as mentioned in this article, there have been limitations with the use of other types of the bioengineered trachea to date, including in humans. 

Hence more research is required to ascertain whether there is an artificial trachea which can be safely implanted into patients with an acceptable risk.
Deborah Verran's insight:
The latest research into developing a bioengineered trachea
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Human-Animal Hybrid: Scientists Grow Human Cells Inside Pig Embryos

Human-Animal Hybrid: Scientists Grow Human Cells Inside Pig Embryos | Organ Donation & Transplant Matters Resources | Scoop.it

Scientists injected pig embryos with human stem cells to produce animal embryos that contain human cells. What are the dangers and potential benefits of this technology? This is explored in the full article which can be accessed via clicking on the banner headline.


This online article is the result of the publication of the findings of sophisticated laboratory research into the creation of embryos which contain cells from two different animals. In the research quoted above this involved placing genetically modified human stem cells into pig blastocysts (at the pre-embryo stage). Despite evidence of the human stem cells initially surviving there was limited evidence of them being present at the pig embryo stage as outlined in the full scientific report-


http://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(16)31752-4


Despite the headlines generated in some quarters by this particular research, this does not mean that the transplantation of organs from 'humanized pigs' is just around the corner as may have been implied.



Deborah Verran's insight:
This proof of concept study will now need to be followed by more sophisticated research in order to ascertain whether this will lead to so called humanized organs in pigs.
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Surgical Assistant Part of World's 1st Heart Transplant To Be Honored in SA

Surgical Assistant Part of World's 1st Heart Transplant To Be Honored in SA | Organ Donation & Transplant Matters Resources | Scoop.it
The city of Cape Town is set to honor Hamilton Naki, a Black South African surgical assistant involved in the world’s first heart transplant operation.

Although Hamilton had not undergone any formal surgical training, his skills were recognised by heart surgeon Christiaan Barnard. Hence Hamilton came to be an important member of the team that was carrying out some of the ground breaking research during this period in time.

For more on the story click on the banner headline.
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Organovo to Test "Patches” for Patients Awaiting Liver Transplants | Xconomy

Organovo to Test "Patches” for Patients Awaiting Liver Transplants | Xconomy | Organ Donation & Transplant Matters Resources | Scoop.it
San Diego-based biotech company Organovo has released a statement this last week that it plans to use its 3D bio-printing technology to produce living human liver tissue “patches” that can be ultimately used to treat patients with liver disease.

However as the article goes on to explain, there is a big difference between the bio-printing pf small parcels of liver tissue (as seen in the above image) and the bio-printing of a fully functional human liver. The technology as well as the know how to 3D print a complete human liver is felt to be at least a decade away at this stage.

In addition also in the bioengineering technology front has come the announcement that researchers are looking into developing a bioreactor which could be ultimately used to store human lungs outside of the body (ex-vivo) for up to 24 hours. This story can be viewed via the following link-



Deborah Verran's insight:
Despite the steady stream of news stories about 3D printing and bioprinting, the ability to manufacture whole organs for the purposes of transplantation remains a distant goal.
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Culture of silence protected disgraced trachea surgeon

Culture of silence protected disgraced trachea surgeon | Organ Donation & Transplant Matters Resources | Scoop.it

An independent report has found both serious medical inadequacies and an uncritical environment surrounding Dr Paolo Macchiarini whilst he was heading the trachea transplant programme at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.


In the final chapter of a story that has been attracting media attention for several years the report of the external review has now been released.


The lack of appropriate governance for this particular research programme combined with a lack of medical leadership is clearly  evident.


For the full story click on the banner headline..

Deborah Verran's insight:
Sobering report which shines a light on the inadequate governance processes which surrounded this particular clinical research programme. 
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Dialysis Patients Trial Wearable Artificial Kidney: Proof of concept study

Dialysis Patients Trial Wearable Artificial Kidney: Proof of concept study | Organ Donation & Transplant Matters Resources | Scoop.it

A couple of years ago the news broke about a new wearable dialysis machine about to go into clinical trial that is essentially an artificial kidney for cleansing and regulating levels of uraemic toxins in the blood. The device is worn on a belt around the patient's waist (as pictured).


Now the results of the pilot study undertaken in the United States have been made available. Although the portable artificial kidney functioned reasonably well, the limitations of the current device became apparent during the trial.


The full results of this important proof of concept study are published in the journal JCI Insight and make for interesting reading-


https://insight.jci.org/articles/view/86397


It is also now understood what are the limitations of the current dialysis modalities with respect to the clearance of uraemic toxins and how bioengineered solutions may make the process more efficient on the future. The following research has been published in the journal Nature-


http://www.nature.com/articles/srep26715





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Improved Detection for Deadly Prion Diseases

Improved Detection for Deadly Prion Diseases | Organ Donation & Transplant Matters Resources | Scoop.it
A new assay now offers the potential for there to be an improved sensitivity in practice compared to current tests for transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, researchers report.

Up to now the diagnosis of these types of conditions has required that tissue taken via biopsies be processed in the laboratory. This newly developed assay may be the first of a new generation of laboratory based tests that can be performed on blood, saliva or urine for these types of disorders. Further data from the prospective use of this particular test in clinical practice is now awaited.
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Leonard Bailey MD First paed heart transplant in the USA

HealthFeed provides the most trusted health video content on YouTube with a network of professional experts.

Doctors and experts provide research and expertise in a short succinct format.

 

Here Dr Leonard Bailey talks about the first paediatric heart transplant in the United States and how the lessons learnt helped pave the way for the successful cases which followed.

 

 

Deborah Verran's insight:

An interesting perspective on how paediatric heart transplantation became a clinical reality in the United States.

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New Bio-Sensors May Save Lung Transplant Patients from Organ Failure

New Bio-Sensors May Save Lung Transplant Patients from Organ Failure | Organ Donation & Transplant Matters Resources | Scoop.it

In the future a new system of sub classifying donor lungs, based on molecular profiling, could make more donor lungs available for transplantation purposes. 

 

This report is of new research on using a molecular probe in order to detect whether donor lungs may be at risk of poor early function following transplantation .

 

This is the first step in the use of this very modern technology in order to provide this particular type of extra information which can be used to assist with making decisions on whether donor lungs are suitable for transplantation. In addition the information may also be used to subclassify the donor lungs into whether they are considered normal or high risk organs for initial poor graft function following transplantation. More on this story can be viewed by clicking on the banner headline

Deborah Verran's insight:

This new molecular probe type of technology will need to be subjected to further trials so that a clearer picture can be gained of both its accuracy and validity 

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Tissue engineering: Organs from the lab - Nature.com

Tissue engineering: Organs from the lab - Nature.com | Organ Donation & Transplant Matters Resources | Scoop.it

The body's organs are more complex than any factory. Attempts to mirror their physiology in the laboratory are now getting closer to capturing their individual intricacies.

 

This well written article outlines the gains that have been made with organ and tissue engineering, particularly the "organ on a chip" technology which is now increasingly being used for research and testing purposes.

 

However due to the inherent complexities in all of the human organs there is still a lot more in the way of research which needs to be undertaken. This is in order to allow step wise progress in the bioengineering of organs to be made.

Deborah Verran's insight:

The latest summary of this fascinating area of ongoing research.

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Regenerative Medicine - JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association

Regenerative Medicine - JAMA:  The Journal of the American Medical Association | Organ Donation & Transplant Matters Resources | Scoop.it

This Viewpoint describes how regenerative medicine through advances in cell biology, biomaterial science, and biological molecule discovery can replace or regenerate human cells, tissues, and organs harmed by disease or injury. However the full replacement of solid organs remains at this stage a vision, with many barriers needing to be overcome via ongoing laboratory research.

 

The first page of the article can be viewed by clicking on the banner headline. The full article requires access to a subscription to JAMA or can be purchsed online

Deborah Verran's insight:

This is one of a steady stream of review articles appearing regularly in the scientific literature on this relatively new area in medicine.

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Organ donation: is an opt-in or opt-out system better?

Organ donation: is an opt-in or opt-out system better? | Organ Donation & Transplant Matters Resources | Scoop.it


Around the world, organ donation policies vary greatly between countries. So is it better to have a donation system where people have to opt in or one where they opt out?

 

This question was asked recently by some researchers in the United Kingdom. They examined the rates of organ donation in a number of countries around the world according to whether opt in or opt out types of legislation were in place.

 

There appears to be higher rates of deceased donor organ donation in countries with an opt out system whilst the opposite was true for living donation. As outlined in this article there are other factors which contribute to the rates of organ donation both within and between countries.

 

The ex CEO of BC Transplant in Canada (Bill Barrable) outlines why moving to a presumed consent system was not supported back in time within Canada -

 

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/organ-donation-the-perils-of-presumed-consent/article20783431/?__scoop_post=2cd7f780-450d-11e4-a362-001018304b75&__scoop_topic=543333#__scoop_post=2cd7f780-450d-11e4-a362-001018304b75&__scoop_topic=543333

 

Finally, the results of some recently published research on whether there is a region of the brain which can be identified to be associated with altruism in live kidney donors can be viewed via this link-

 

http://www.medicaldaily.com/organ-donor-brains-bigger-region-linked-altruism-neural-roots-generosity-303638?__scoop_post=e685b850-4244-11e4-f327-001018304b75&__scoop_topic=543333#.VB_emdJ6-m4.twitter

 

 

 

 

Deborah Verran's insight:

The rates of organ donation within and between countries represent the end result of many factors which all need to be in place in order for optimal rates of organ donation to be sustained.

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