In The News - Volume 1 - Issue 16 - October 30, 2015

Fecal Transplants Show Promise but Need Careful Monitoring, Experts Say
Oct. 21, 2015 - The use of fecal transplants to treat severe infections has rapidly become the treatment of choice, but as use increases and widens proper screening of donors, and good long-term trials and monitoring are urgently needed in order to provide sensible advice to patients, say experts in BMJ today.
Gut microbes play a key role in our immune systems and health -- and transplanting fecal matter from one person to another is increasingly being used to control severe life-threatening infections like recurrent Clostridium difficile that kill thousands of people annually.
The procedure involves introducing a liquidized stool (or frozen microbes) from a healthy donor to the bowel of a patient to re-colonize their gut with healthy bacteria, which are often destroyed after prolonged antibiotic treatment. (More)

Using stem cells, scientists just successfully grew a kidney organoid for the first time
Oct. 22, 2015 - In the lab, researchers discovered that stem cells developed into different shaped nephrons, collecting ducts, and other elements of healthy kidney organs, based on their exposure to specific signaling molecules. By controlling the amount of time a any section of a single stem cell source was exposed to these molecules, the scientists were able to develop a kidney organoid that doesn’t resemble a fully developed human kidney, but instead looks more like a kidney that would develop in a fetus during the first trimester of pregnancy. (More)

China's Organ Donation Hit Record-High
Oct. 20, 2015 - Beijing:  The number of organ donations and transplants in China hit a record-high after it banned the use of executed prisoners' organs early this year, making voluntary donation from citizens the only legitimate channel. "More than 6,000 organs had been donated by over 2,000 donors as of early October, marking a record-high after January's ban prompted concerns about an acute shortage of organs," Huang Jiefu, a former vice-minister of health and current head of the National Human Organ Donation and Transplant Committee, was quoted as saying by the Beijing Youth Daily. He said that over 300 hospitals will become qualified to perform organ transplants next year and that over 500 young doctors will be trained in donation and transplant procedures. (More)

NSW hospital to set up permanent poo transplantation program, ‘poo bank’
Oct. 23, 2015 - A hospital in New South Wales is planning to set up a permanent “poo transplantation” programme for patients across the state suffering from Clostridium difficile, or C. diff, infection, which causes symptoms of diarrhoea and life-threatening inflammation of the colon. The Westmead Hospital is aiming to have its own "poo bank" where emergency cases can be immediately treated.
Experts say that the poo transplantation procedure will enable good bacteria in the human waste to take over the body and fight against the infection. Westmead Hospital will be the second public hospital in Australia to offer the procedure, which the Gastroenterological Society of Australia has already recommended to all patients suffering from C. diff. (More)

Ker plans outcome-registry for clearer organ transplantation
Oct. 22, 2015 - Seeking to bring in more accountability in organ donation initiatives in Kerala, the government is set to launch an outcome-registry to create awareness among people about results of organ transplantations. The Kerala Network of Organ Sharing (KNOS), the state government's nodal agency for organ retrieval and sharing, said the outcome-registry would be a separate website with details of health status of patients who undergo organ transplantation and the performance details of hospitals.
KNOS is coming up with the outcome registry in view of increasing number of organ donations taking place in Kerala, where people once kept themselves away from the initiative due to personal inhibitions and religious reasons. (More)

For Some Inpatients with Cirrhosis, Liver Transplant Is the only Cure
Oct. 23, 2015 - Bilal Hameed, MD, assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology at the University of California San Francisco, reviewed a wide range of serious and life-threatening medical complications resulting from cirrhosis during the annual UCSF Management of the Hospitalized Patient conference.
Recurring complications of cirrhosis can include ascites, acute variceal and portal hypertensive bleeds, hepatic encephalopathy, bacterial peritonitis, acute renal failure, sepsis, and a host of other infections. In many cases, options for treatment are limited as the patient develops decompensated cirrhosis. (More)

Organ donor effort gets boost from scanner
Oct. 22, 2015 = It’s quick, portable and designed to help change — and save — the lives of thousands of people on organ transplant waiting lists.
Wisconsin donor advocates are using a new smartphone and tablet technology designed to quickly register potential organ, tissue and eye donors using the barcode information on driver licenses. “It allows us to be mobile with our ability to register people,” said Joanne Grunau, president of Donate Life Wisconsin. “With this little device that attaches to any iPhone or iPad … they can instantly register the person they are talking to, or, be at a large event and register a whole bunch of people.” (More)