Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School,
Boston, MA, United States
We are nearing the end of 2020, and as challenging a year as it has been, it is more important than ever to reflect on the past, its achievements and stay connected within our community.
The world has no doubt become a very different place than it was last year. Confinement measures and travel restrictions are in effect in many countries, in an effort to limit a growing wave of COVID-19 infections. My thoughts go out to all who are affected by this viral outbreak. I would also like to thank the many caregivers and the medical community, who continue to courageously and passionately fight for our patients and for our communities, placing the life of others ahead of their own. As the holiday season approaches, we face the need to limit gatherings, and take strict protective measures.
Although the pandemic has disrupted our freedom and personal interactions in many ways, the International Xenotransplantation Association continues to embrace these unprecedented times with creative thinking in pursuit of its educational mission.
The IXA Council is developing a series of new initiatives including new committees and new fundraising and educational activities. Please watch for our Newsletters and website in 2021 for more details.
While some initiatives are still in development, this year was marked by the creation of the David K.C. Cooper Young Investigator Award and the Young Investigators Endowment Research Fund (YIER). David K.C. Cooper is an internationally recognized pioneer in xenotransplantation and the award, which honors his contributions to the field, will recognize a young scientist who has shared his or her research findings at the biennial IXA Congress. The YIER is a new endowment fund to support the education, research and mentorship of the next generation of professionals in Xenotransplantation. The funds raised for this endowment will support a variety of initiatives under the leadership of an award committee and the IXA Council. Examples of initiatives to be supported include travel awards to attend IXA meetings in person, and financial support to travel to different institutions across the world in order to broaden the research experience of young scholars.
Please consider a donation to these funds as you renew your IXA membership, to support the development and education of the next generation of xenobiologists, and allow our field to safely and effectively transition to the clinic. Even small donations make a big impact.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected our ability to attend meetings. The 28th International Congress of The Transplantation Society, TTS2020, was held virtually last September. Educational workshop sessions focused on xenotransplantation, with topics including regulations in China, Korea, and the UK, an update on the historic Changsha Communiqué, discussion of the ideal pig for xenotransplantation, and the design of clinical trials for islets, corneas, and kidneys. Plenary sessions presented cutting-edge and exciting news in the field, including the first study of pre-clinical life-supporting orthotopic pig-to-baboon cardiac xenotransplantation that meets the ISHLT guidelines for clinical trials presented by Paolo Brenner, and the outcome of the first-in-the-world pilot clinical trial for neonatal porcine “free islet” transplantation, by Wei Wang. Exciting oral presentations were presented and well-attended by young investigators. The recordings of all these sessions and more are available to all IXA members on our website.
The joint in-person meeting between the IPITA, CTRMS and IXA has been postponed to 2023. Until then, these societies will hold a virtual meeting in the Fall of 2021. More details to come.
I am wishing all of you and your families good health and a pleasant holiday season.
My sympathy and best wishes of health to all our community members.
International Xenotransplantation Association
C/O The Transplantation Society
505 Boulevard René-Lévesque Ouest
Montréal, QC, H2Z 1Y7