In The News - Volume 1 - Issue 1 - February 26, 2015

Volume 1 - Issue 1 - February 26, 2015

Organ donation Pioneering transplant surgery sees man receive FIVE new internal organs at same time
Feb. 19 - The Mirror - Czech Bartolomej Pesta, 60, is already walking his dog seven weeks after the surgery to give him a new stomach, small intestine, spleen, pancreas and liver.  A man had FIVE internal organ transplants in a rare and pioneering life-saving operation - and doctors expect him to lead a normal life. Czech Bartolomej Pesta, 60, is feeling finer than he has for years after the surgery to give him a new stomach, small intestine, spleen, pancreas and liver shortly before Christmas. More

Scientists announce anti-HIV agent so powerful it can work in a vaccine
Feb. 18, 2015 - The Scripps Research Institute - In a remarkable new advance against the virus that causes AIDS, scientists have announced the creation of a novel drug candidate that is so potent and universally effective, it might work as part of an unconventional vaccine. The research, which involved scientists from more than a dozen research institutions, was published February 18 online ahead of print by the journal Nature. More

Gentler treatment effective for many with graft-vs.-host disease
Feb. 19, 2015 - Fred Hutch News Service - Dr. Marco Mielcarek, a clinical researcher at Fred Hutch, led a new study testing the effectiveness of lower doses of prednisone for patients with acute graft-vs.-host disease. For cancer patients who’ve undergone bone marrow transplantation, graft-vs.-host diseasecan seem like a cruel irony. The donor immune cells that fought off their cancer now attack other body parts, leading to painful skin rashes, digestive troubles and sometimes liver problems. Up to 70 percent of transplant recipients develop acute GVHD, which crops up within the first few months of transplantation. And 40 percent get chronic GVHD, which can evolve from acute GVHD or appear on its own and is often more severe and can last for years. More

Transplant patients have high rate of cancer death
Feb. 18, 20015 - - Researchers at the University of Adelaide are working to better understand how patients who receive life-saving organ transplants can be spared from dying of cancer many years later. Transplant patients are 3-5 times more likely to develop cancer than the general population. For example, one third of Australian kidney transplant patients will eventually die of cancer many years after their surgery – and a third of these deaths are due to skin cancer. "The drugs given to transplant patients are designed to prevent rejection of the transplanted organ, but this means the immune suppression caused by these drugs also makes the patients much more susceptible to cancers," says Dr Robert Carroll, Senior Clinical Lecturer with the University's School of Medicine. More

With Liver Donors in Short Supply, Cell Transplants Offer New Options
Feb. 17, 2015 - Scientific American - For many liver disease patients, implantation of a few new cells from a healthy organ may buy time or avoid a full transplant altogether. A new approach may provide a stopgap or, in time, an entirely new alternative. Called hepatocyte transplantation, the technique replaces approximately 10 percent of the liver with healthy cells from a deceased donor.  Every year more than 6,000 people with liver disease or facing liver failure receive whole-organ transplantations in the U.S. More

Researchers create stem cell-derived retina tissue
Feb. 17, 2015 - Nature - A Japanese team of researchers has developed a method of creating three-dimensional retinal tissue from human embryonic stem cells, according to a study published on Thursday in an electronic edition of British science journal Nature Communications. The research team at the Kobe-based Riken Center for Developmental Biology and Sumitomo Chemical Co. hopes that their discovery will shed light on the retinal mechanism and eventually aid the treatment of incurable eye diseases. More