In The News - Volume 2 - Issue 3 - January 18, 2016

Organ 'biological age' could predict transplant success
Factors regulating the biological age of a transplanted kidney (miles on the clock ) as opposed to the chronological age (calendar years) are key to determining how well it will work after transplantation, a new study has revealed.
Researchers from the Glasgow Ageing Research Network (GARNER), based at the University of Glasgow's Institute of Cancer Sciences and the NHS GG&C Renal Unit, have found that these factors can provide doctors with a more accurate advanced indication of post-transplant outcomes and thus better patient management.
The study, which was published in Plos One, examined kidney transplant data to create a pre-transplant performance scoring system called the Glasgow Renal Prognostic Scoring System (GRPSS).
Jan 14/16

Swiss scientists find novel way to make stem cells
 In a serendipitous discovery, Lutolf and his colleagues found out that the gel medium influenced the transformation of iPSCs into stem cells. The scientists could then reprogramme the cells faster and more efficiently by adjusting the composition of the gel medium. 
“Each cell type may have a ‘sweet spot’ of physical and chemical factors that offer the most efficient transformation,” said Lutolf. “Once you find it, it is a matter of resources and time to create stem cells on a larger scale.” 
Jan 11/16

Hand transplant a Canadian first
The first successful hand transplant in Canada has been completed by a team of doctors in Toronto.
Eighteen surgeons worked for about 14 hours to attach a donated forearm and hand to a 49-year-old female who lost her arm below the elbow in an accident years ago.
"She is doing very well and seems to be very happy with the procedure," said Dr. Steven McCabe, director of the Toronto Western Hospital's hand and upper extremity transplant program.
Jan 13/16

Record 30,000 Organ Transplants Performed in U.S. Last Year
U.S. organ transplants surpassed the 30,000 milestone in 2015 because Americans are increasingly willing to donate their organs, health officials said. Doctors performed a record 30,973 transplants of kidneys, livers and other organs last year, 5% more than in 2014, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN), a wing of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that tracks such medical donations.
The number of organ donations has been on a steady incline for the last decade. But the number of people waiting for organs—currently 121,700 patients—still far outnumbers the number of people willing to donate. The network estimates that 22 people in the country die every day waiting for organs.
Jan 13/16

Organ donors need to prepare their families beforehand
There are plans to “get tougher” with grieving relatives who veto the wishes of those on organ donor lists and carrying donor cards. There have been 547 cases of blocked consent (one in seven) since 2010, which amounts to about 1,200 people missing out on transplants.
The idea is to stop asking relatives for formal consent and to give them, instead, a leaflet explaining how consent remains with the deceased. However, the relatives can still block the donation if they give their reasons in writing.
Jan 17/16

Trudeau announces $20-million in funding for Toronto stem cell research
The federal government will provide $20 million to the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine to help establish a stem-cell therapy development facility in Toronto.
The Centre for Advanced Therapeutic Cell Technologies will be the first such facility in the world to use a collaborative approach between research institutions and industry to solve cell therapy manufacturing challenges, the government said.
Jan 14/16