CC: Room 157/160
Participants in Friday’s AASLD/ILTS Transplant Course will be delving into the challenges created by the gap between the need for liver transplantation and the number of available donor organs. This year’s program “Expanding the Boundaries for Liver Transplant Oncology” will offer the latest research into ways to increase the donor pool.
“Unfortunately, there’s not enough organs available,” said co-chair Roberto Hernandez-Alejandro, MD, professor, Department of Surgery, and Chief of the Division of Transplantation at the University of Rochester. “These topics – hepatitis C donors, donation after cardiac death, and the utilization of machine preservation technology – are ways to increase the number of organs for transplantation. We believe that with innovation, and a very good selection of donors and recipients, we’re able to obtain those results using this strategy. This is exciting for the physicians and surgeons who are attending the course being able to see these options to increase the donor pool and help more patients, while decreasing death on our waitlists.”
Dr. Hernandez-Alejandro and his co-chairs Mitra K. Nadim, MD, FASN, and Marina Berenguer, MD, have organized a program with world-renowned speakers in clinically relevant topics.
“This is going to open questions for a lot of members of our association. They’re going to be asking should we be using these new practices at our own centers? I think these are clinically relevant topics that have immediate implications in their clinical practice in their own institutions,” Dr. Hernandez-Alejandro said.
The topic of organ repair, or improving the quality of organs, with machine perfusion should be of particular interest, he noted.
“We expect to learn more about the different modalities of normothermic and hypothermic perfusion and how to repair organs that normally would be discarded,” he said. “Now you can repair them and use them and have good outcomes. I think that’s a fascinating and exciting area.”
Discussions of what he termed “transplant oncology” will shed light on another new possibility in liver transplant.
“Transplant oncology is an area which is developing in several places in the world and it’s growing slowly, but this is a new area for liver transplantation,” he said. “The fact that we don’t have that many organs doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be opening the access for other diseases for liver transplantation if they have good outcomes, but we have to be cautious about the way that we move in this area.”
In addition to didactic lectures, the program also includes debate topics, including donation after cardiac death and living donor versus deceased donors, that should challenge existing thought.
“Why am I not using hepatitis C positive donor organs in hepatitis C negative recipients or how can I push the envelope more in the donor pool with donation after cardiac death?” Dr. Hernandez-Alejandro said. “So it’s going to open a lot of questions in people who have practices in hepatology and liver transplantation and haven’t explored these opportunities to improve access to patients for transplantation with positive results.”