Our mission is to promote xenotransplantation as a safe, ethical, and effective therapeutic modality

President's Message

Prof. Wayne Hawthorne Westmead Hospital, University of Sydney Australia



Dear Colleagues
Although it is a great honour, it is also with great sadness that I succeed Dr. Agnès Azimzadeh in her role as IXA President following her passing on March 15, 2021 after a courageous battle with intestinal cancer. Over the past two years, Dr. Azimzadeh provided a dedicated, unique style and direction to the development of the International Xenotransplantation Association (IXA) and its associated Journal. On behalf of the IXA, I wish to acknowledge Agnès for her leadership and impact while President of the IXA (2019-2021).

The first action I take as President, is to acknowledge Agnes for her invaluable contributions to the field of xenotransplantation. To this end, the IXA has established an endowment fund and biennial award in her name to remember her and her significant role in xenotransplantation. We created this award to acknowledge Agnès and support the education, research, and mentorship of the next generation of professionals. In particular, the award will support and foster young female researchers who are building their careers in Xenotransplantation. Donations will be collected into an endowment fund managed by the IXA and TTS and coordinated by the fundraising and endowment committee, under the leadership of the IXA Council. Recipients of the Agnès Azimzadeh Award will receive support by way of a travel award to attend the biennial IXA meeting and be invited to present an invited lecture.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted life in every way. Never in the history of the IXA have we seen such worldwide and widespread changes, affecting the way in which we hold international meetings and interact as a society. With such a changing world it seems that the way meetings are held may well have altered forever. This includes how we interact in our roles on Council with many meetings now being undertaken by various on-line formats. In some ways it has streamlined our interactions for organisational issues, such as the logistical issues of organising the forthcoming joint IXA/CTRMS congress to be held in September 2021 as a completely on-line congress. It would be both wonderful and productive to be able to meet in person, however this appears unlikely to happen for the next year or so. In the interim, for this year’s joint meeting we have prepared an outstanding program with numerous key speakers. These key speakers will be updating us on recent progress and to provide us with the vision of future collaborations with other fields, such as the new genetic engineering tools or blastocyst complementation.

Studies performed in our field have recently been published in top tier scientific journals, promoting international interest and impact. Thanks to this increased interest, our official journal Xenotransplantation has reached its highest impact factor and I encourage members to consider publication of their work in our journal. The Xeno Prize for the best paper published in Xenotransplantation over the past year will be announced during the 2021 joint congress.

Following the 15th International Xenotransplantation Association Congress held in Munich in 2019, the IXA Council held a retreat to meet and discussed the state and direction of the IXA. The discussion was focused on several initiatives which I continue to strongly support:

    i. To refocus the Young Investigator Committee to provide new mentorship opportunities for trainees and provide a strong focus on encouraging female members to develop their careers.

    ii. To further improve IXA communications and education by developing webinars and podcasts on Xenotransplantation and continue to update the IXA website.

    iii. Options were discussed to improve the visibility of the journal.

    iv. A Young Investigators Endowment Research Fund (YIER) was created to support the education, research, and mentorship of the next generation of professionals in Xenotransplantation. The funds being raised will support a variety of initiatives, such as travel awards and laboratory exchange programs to broaden the research experience of scholars. This fund relies upon your generous donations.

    v. While guidelines for heart, lung, islet and cornea xenotransplantation have been previously established and published, there is a paucity of information to guide kidney and liver clinical applications. The IXA Council will address this need in consultation with experts, by working towards the publication of guidelines for kidney xenotransplantation and xenogeneic liver as a bridge therapy.

    vi. The IXA remains closely linked to the World Health Organization to review and develop guidelines and support Xenotransplantation across the globe. This has included continued interaction and follow-up from the 2018 Changsha Communique.

    vii. The Public Perception of Xenotransplantation was selected as one of the society’s priorities, and the IXA Council will actively work toward fostering the education of, and dialogue with, health professionals as well as the general public, in various countries.

These initiatives rely upon the dedicated and hard work of our dynamic and supportive IXA Council members. We will share further updates on the progress of these and other activities with you throughout the year.

Importantly, the realization of these goals relies on your contributions. I thank you for continuing to support our membership and encourage your attendance at the forthcoming IXA/CTRMS Congress. I would like to also encourage your continued contribution of ideas and suggestions to the IXA council to help to improve our society.

Finally, I wish to acknowledge and thank all my fellow Council members for their dedication and collaboration in running the IXA. I look forward to my role as President, in leading the IXA and providing appropriate decisions for the advancement of our society over the next two years and to seeing everyone in person once the COVID-19 pandemic is resolved and in-person events resume!

Best Regards,

Professor Wayne J Hawthorne
IXA President

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Address

International Xenotransplantation Association
C/O The Transplantation Society
International Headquarters
505 Boulevard René-Lévesque Ouest
Suite 1401
Montréal, QC, H2Z 1Y7
Canada