The 28th International Congress of The Transplantation Society was scheduled to take place in Seoul on September 12-16, 2020. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic it was converted into a virtual congress.
I would like to thank the Congress Chair, Professor Mehmet Haberal and the Scientific Program Co-Chairs, Professor Nancy Asher and Professor Philip O’Connell, the TTS Director of Meetings and Sponsorship, Ms. Kathy Tsandilas, the TTS Scientific Program Manager, Ms. Catherin Parker and the TTS Director of Technologies, Mr. Roberto Colarusso, and the entire TTS team lead by TTS Executive Director, Jean-Pierre Mongeau, for the organization of the virtual component of the congress with a short time notice. This was our first experience conducting this type of meeting. It was a good learning experience, adapting to the current global situation. The congress had many highlights that will be shared with TTS members in the near future. The virtual lounges allowed for personal interactions with TTS Council and Executive members.
A number of awards were bestowed on TTS members during this Congress:
We must continue with our mission of promoting education, science and ethical principles globally. To achieve these objectives, we are introducing some new elements to better serve our members. I have been interacting with the TTS Committee Chairs, with the TTS Council and Executive Committee members, as well as the TTS Section Presidents, to plan for the next 2 years.
The organization of the TTS 2022 Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina is underway. We are all very excited because this will be the first TTS Congress in Latin America.
The TTS 2022 Congress is planned with the collaboration of the Sociedad Argentina de Trasplantes (SAT) and the Sociedad de Trasplante de América Latina y el Caribe (STALyC). The Congress Vice-Chairs are Drs. Gabriel Gondolesi and Alejandro Niño-Murcia, and the Chair of the Scientific Program Committee is Professor Mehmet Haberal, and the Co-Chairs are Drs. Carlos Diaz and Ruben Schiavelli. The Chair of the Finance Committee is Dr. Minnie Sarwal and the Vice-Chair is Dr. Oscar Invertarza. Co-Chairs of the Host-Country Liaison Committee are Drs. Enrique Beveraggi and Francisco Gonzalez Martinez. Other members of the Committees will be announced in the near future.
The TTS Committees have been restructured. We will create an Allied Health Committee and a Data Harmonization Committee. There will be a request to TTS members to participate in some of the TTS Committees. We will continue the TTS path about advocating for transparency and upholding the ethical aspects of organ donation and transplantation.
We have created the position of TTS Champions. Their role will focus on outlining the barriers to access to transplantation in their countries. They will liaise with their National Transplantation Societies and with their governments, and will interact with the TTS Councilors and the TTS Ambassadors of their TTS Regions, as well as the TTS Council and Officers. The goal is to increase access to organ transplantation worldwide.
We all agree that in-person meetings are the gold standard for personal interactions. However, we need to adjust to the current pandemic; therefore, we are planning several online training modules and virtual conferences.
The TTS Education Committee is interacting with the TTS Sections to organize educational webinars.
Regional educational symposia on specific topics according to the region’s needs will be announced in the near future.
We will be launching shortly an on-line module about education on organ donation and transplantation for school children. This is a joint project with the Dutch Transplant Foundation and the collaboration of the Canadian Society of Transplantation. The goal will be to increase familiarity of school children with the concepts of organ donation and transplantation worldwide.
Our committees are currently working to continue existing programs as well as formulate new initiatives. Recently, there was a call for interest in certain committees and we are excited to welcome new faces onto the committees.
Just before ending my two-year term as Declaration of Istanbul Custodian Group (DICG) co-chair, I would like to share what this experience has meant to me.
My journey with the DICG started in 2004, when a group led by Dr. Francis Delmonico helped us handle a very difficult situation in Colombia. At that time, 16.5% of the transplant recipients done in Colombia were foreigners.
With the help of what would become the DICG, the transplantation laws in Colombia were modified in order to prevent transplant tourism and protect transplantation resources for Colombian recipients. The result of this intervention was gratifying. Colombia changed from being a stigmatized country to an example for other countries as to how to deal with transplant tourism effectively. Today, less than 0.37% of the organ transplants performed in Colombia involve foreign nationals. We have set up systems to ensure that all transplantation of foreign nationals performed in Colombia have the necessary authorization from both the Columbian National Health Institute, as well as similar regulatory institutes in the patients’ country of origin. Working with the authorities and healthcare teams from patients’ home countries does not only safeguard against fraud and deception, but also increases the long-term graft and survival outcome for patients returning home.
After witnessing the changes in Colombia, I understood the importance of the Declaration of Istanbul and the Custodial Group encouraging countries to uphold the principles. This propelled me to become a member of the DICG, and I had the privilege to serve as Co-Chair of the group since the 2018 TTS Congress in Madrid. Every month, the DICG receives notifications about organ trafficking irregularities and transplant tourism occurring in different nations worldwide. As leaders of the DICG, we are able to interact with the respective authorities and local transplantation communities around the world and provide assistance to those countries which still have centers involved in illegal and unethical transplant practices.
With a global decrease in transplants as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemics, new difficulties are arising in transplant access across the globe. Patients will unequivocally search for a solution for their needs in other countries where the economic crisis can signify ethical lability. Now more than ever, the scientific community must be strong in order to identify those centers and their members, where irregularities are being committed to guide and support them to ethical transplantation practices. This implies a need for a stronger DICG.
While I will be stepping down as Co-Chair at the end of 2020, I am happy to have had the opportunity to be part of such a dedicated group of individuals. I wish to thank my co-chair Eric Rondeau, the DICG executive and council, as well as all those who are dedicated to furthering the principles of the DOI.
Given the COVID pandemic, TTS and ISN will not be accepting new applications to the program this year. Current STC pairs will carry forward to 2021 the funds received this year in the form of a grant, allowing them to defer all activity and reschedule visits and projects at their best convenience throughout 2021 (and as allowed by circumstances).
These measures are taken to respond to the current public health crisis as well as the uncertainty as to when the situation will revert to normal. In the meantime, we encourage maintaining the partnerships especially at level B and A through new technologies such as webinars, video assisted medical procedures and continued mentorship.
An experienced transplant center in the developed world is paired with an emerging transplant center to facilitate vital multidisciplinary training and an exchange of knowledge and expertise.
Aiming to benefit both centers, the supporting center (SC) is involved in global health, and promotes ethical and competent transplantation in regions of the world with limited or no current access to transplantation; and the emerging center (EC), connects with a multidisciplinary team of experts in transplantation from a world-leading center.
Progressive steps associated with increasing funding as the partnership between the EC and SC grows.
The ultimate goal is for Level 3 centers to graduate and become true local centers of excellence for regional training and support.
Next Application Deadline: January 1st, 2021
Please read the application guidelines, and send the completed forms to Initiatives@tts.org.
Applications will be reviewed by a joint TTS-ILTS committee. All pairs will be notified by March 1st of each year.
We enthusiastically entered into the 11th year of the Women in Transplantation initiative of The Transplantation Society, with a slew of activities at the first virtual TTS Congress 2020.
There was a changing of the guard with Dr. Roslyn Mannon (USA) taking over WIT Chair and Dr. Lori West (Canada) transitioning to past-Chair - WIT expressed gratitude to Dr. West for her tireless efforts in promoting WIT in the past 2 years and look forward to continuing progress under Dr. Mannon’s leadership. Dr. Bethany Foster (Canada) also stepped into the role of Co-Chair. Pillar 1, led by Dr. Christine Falk (Germany), will continue to work with the incoming chair, Dr. Anita Chong (USA), in its task of advancing and inspiring women transplant professionals. Pillar 2, tasked with championing issues of biological sex & gender in transplantation will be led by Dr. Germaine Wong (Australia).
In keeping with our mission to advance and inspire women transplant professionals, Dr. Anita Chong from the University of Chicago, and Dr. Elaine Reed from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) received Women Leader in Transplantation awards for their contributions to Basic Science and Clinical/Translational Science, respectively. In addition, the WIT Unsung Hero in Transplantation Awards to recognize women who have had an extraordinary impact in transplantation through community service, volunteering, mentorship or other community-based activities were awarded to Dr. Yingzi Ming (China), Dr. Lkhaakhuu Od-Erdene (Mongolia), Dr. Vasanthi Ramesh (India) and Dr. Rose Marie O. Rosete-Liquete (Philippines). Congratulations to all for their contributions and achievements.
Virtual WIT networking events at the TTS Congress were held to provide information on WIT accomplishments and future directions, and to encourage participation in WIT. The WIT Speakers Bureau which provides a searchable database of potential women speakers and moderators is now live (https://wit-sb.tts.org/webapp), and participation and use of this Bureau are encouraged.
Seeking to champion issues of sex and worldwide gender equity and inclusiveness in transplantation, WIT hosted a fantastic webinar on ‘Gender Inequality in the time of COVID-19’ by Sabine Oertelt-Prigione from the University of Radboud Medical Center, Netherlands, covering issues of how biological sex and gender inequality might impact susceptibility to COVID-19, and affect vaccine trials and access to treatment. State of the Art, workshop and abstract sessions focussed on Sex and Gender-related issues involving transplantation and COVID-19 were all highlighted in the TTS 2020 Congress.
WIT also hosted a webinar as part of ATC’s Inaugural Virtual Meeting in May. This poignant webinar was entitled ‘#metoo: Addressing Gender Inequity in Academic Medicine’ and was presented by Dr. Reshmi Jagsi from Michigan University Hospital. Another successful Virtual Networking session was hosted as part of ASHI 2020, with Dr. Lara Danziger-Isakov from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital discussing ‘Uneven Ground: Finding Your Feet During a Pandemic.’
WIT activities continued this year at the FOCIS 2020 meeting, where Dr. Yvonne Maldonado from Stanford University discussed ‘Diversity, Sex and Gender in the COVID Era.’
If you are interested in becoming a member, being put onto WIT mailing list, attending a WIT event, or simply hearing more about who we are and what we do, please contact our representative at TTS, Katie Tait, at email@example.com or visit www.tts-wit.org
IPITA recently held its 3rd Summit on Stem Cell Derived Beta Cells; although rescheduled from an in-person
meeting in Spring 2020 to a two-day virtual format on November 2nd and 3rd, it proved to be a tremendous success.
Ten of the field’s premier leaders provided lectures on cutting edge topics, such as refinements to stem cell differentiation protocols, advances in genetic modifications to prevent rejection, and provocative preliminary clinical results from ongoing trials by Viacyte. Just shy of 250 individuals logged into the meeting, representing 27 countries and 6 continents. The success of the meeting is attributed to the hard work of the Scientific Planning Committee, led by former President Dr. Jon Odorico, who built an outstanding scientific program that was attractive to numerous sponsors and attendees. That the meeting was free to members of IPITA, IXA, and CTRMS also helped encourage participation. An added perk is that the membership has online access to the talks for a month after the meeting via the IPITA website. Click the banner below to visit the summit website and take advantage of this unique resource.
The meeting highlighted the fact that this is a dynamic and exciting time for IPITA and the beta cell replacement field. There are potentially powerful and innovative therapies entering the beta cell transplant space, that will undoubtedly improve the care of our patients. However, these changes may also impinge on our core activities of allogenic pancreas and islet transplantation that have served our patients so well for many years. Embracing and thoughtfully integrating the coming opportunities into our practice, our meetings, and our society is essential and an important task for our IPITA Council.
Finally an update about our next IPITA Congress, originally scheduled as a joint meeting with IXA and CTRMS in October 2021 in San Diego. The council of the three societies decided recently to postpone the joint meeting to 2023. In the meantime, IPITA will hold a virtual meeting in 2021 and are exploring other educational initiatives to engage our members. We expect to have clarity in the coming months and will keep the membership informed as decisions are made.
Best wishes for a safe and joyful holiday season.
Despite the COVID-19 craziness of this year, IPTA has continued in our mission to support children who require transplantation, and their families.
Our Infectious Disease committee have reviewed the available evidence and provided wisdom around COVID-19 and pediatric transplantation in newsletters as well as publications in Pediatric Transplantation. Our Education and the newly re-named Allied Health and Nursing Professionals (AHNP) committees have presented at 2 webinars and have more plans for future webinars. Our Outreach and Publications committees have also embraced new forms of ‘travelling’ by Zoom to facilitate teaching and support.
Our Membership committee have recently assisted Jennifer Varga (Membership Coordinator at TTS) in streamlining our paid membership, while our Communications committee are facilitating our extension into the social media arena. Finally our Ethics committee continue to review topical issues related to pediatric transplantation.
We have recently thanked our past committee members for their extensive input over the last few years and have added new committee members to all of the committees. In addition, we now have AHNP representatives on all of the committees, which is an exciting new development.
Our Nominations committee are currently busy with nominations for new Councillors and Office Bearers which will come up early in 2021.
TTS2020 as a Virtual event proved to be a very successful meeting with a separate Pediatric track. This track was well organised and attended by participants from across the world, and included some good discussions and chat group events.
Finally, it is with mixed feelings that we are announcing NEW dates for IPTA 2021: IPTA’s 11th Congress will now take place on March 26-29, 2022.
We know that many of you are looking forward to meeting, learning and networking in-person. However, given the ongoing battle with COVID-19, travel restrictions, closed borders, and quarantining, maintaining the September dates became a logistical nightmare, besides placing the Association at a risk of enormous financial losses.
After lengthy discussions, we have come to the conclusion to postpone the Congress by 6 months. We remain fully committed to put forth a superb IPTA Congress that can be attended by as many pediatric transplant professionals as possible, in a safe environment.
We are optimistic that the world will stabilize throughout next year, so that we can see YOU in Prague in March 2022 where we will make up for lost time!!
As you are aware, the ISODP mission and vision are to improve organ donation worldwide. Over the past year, our purpose was made all the more challenging due to the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic with organ donations consented to and transplanted seeing a fall in numbers.
However, just as our brothers and sisters on the frontlines have shown the world their resolve and their everlasting commitment to the service of people, we too have had to overcome the challenges presented to continue to push through our vision. I am certain that as we continue to work together and support each other, we will overcome these difficult times.
The executive committee has continued to meet to discuss the future of the ISODP, the ways to improve our society, and how we can push forward with our goals given the current circumstances globally. We are preparing the Las Vegas 2021 Conference to go ahead as planned, physically in the city of Las Vegas, Nevada. We are equally prepared to hold the conference virtually should the current situation with the pandemic continue until then. The team is prepared, eager, and ready to make the best of the situation at hand. Their enthusiasm will surely make this conference the best one yet!
I have had a very productive conversation with the new TTS President, Dr. Marcelo Cantarovich, regarding developing satellite symposia in collaboration with TTS. I would like to personally extend our greatest appreciation for theTTS’s continued support of our vision and our mission as well its support for our educational activities and our challenges; both under the former President, Prof. Mehmet Haberal, and the current President, Dr. Marcelo Cantarovich who have been extremely graceful in their aid.
Finally, we are proud to have supported the launch of an Organ Procurement module at Barcelona University, and we wish that program continued success moving forward. Unfortunately, we have had to postpone many of our planned teaching activities and events due to the pandemic; however, expect to see upcoming teaching events take place in conjunction with TTS.
I hope that the COVID-19 pandemic will subside soon and we can all meet in person. Until then, stay safe and stay healthy.
Dr. Faissal Shaheen
The 14th Congress of the International Society for Vascularized Composite Allotransplantation held in New Delhi, India (September 30 - October 1, 2019) was a fantastic success. The theme of the meeting was “Learning from the Past, Preparing for the Future."
More than 100 participants from 18 countries participated in the meeting. The meeting was preceded by a 2-day hands on workshop that demonstrated donor and recipient VCA procedures on soft embalmed specimens. Over 40 presentations included world updates in VCA as well as progress in experimental research and innovative advances with clinical impact (including topics such as psychosocial aspects in VCA, prosthetics versus VCA and bioethical dilemmas in VCA). A Satellite Symposium was held in the southern Indian city of Kochi on October 4th to discuss advances in emerging fields such as regenerative medicine, tissue engineering and nanomedicine as relevant to VCA.
Since the India meeting, the ISVCA Council has been hard at work, to finalize the location and programming for the 15th Congress of the ISVCA. Early this year, the ISVCA Council unanimously selected the bid by the Mexican team to organize the next ISVCA congress in Cancun, Mexico in 2021. However, the unprecedented impact of the pandemic of 2020 has had far reaching consequences on the meeting planning and organization.
Taking into consideration the global trends of COVID-19 and predictive estimates for persistent restrictions to global travel which extend into late 2021, the ISVCA Council has made the difficult but consensus decision to postpone the 15th ISVCA Congress to 2022. We believe that the ISVCA is not the only meeting being postponed, with numerous congresses being rescheduled or canceled for 2021. The Council exercised a high degree of caution in its decision to postpone the meeting, as the health, safety and convenience of our members, trainees, attendees, sponsors, staff and exhibitors are the paramount priority of the Society.
The meeting Chairman of the 15th ISVCA Congress, Dr. Martin Iglesias is working closely with the President of the World Society of Reconstructive Microsurgery (WSRM), Dr. Eric Santamaria, to organize the next ISVCA Congress in conjunction with the 11th Congress of the WSRM, which is also planned for Cancun, Mexico in 2022. The ISCVA remains grateful to its membership for their understanding and looks forward to maximal participation of young trainees, clinicians and scientists from across the world at the upcoming meeting in beautiful, breathtaking Cancun, Mexico in the summer of 2022! Your continued commitment as a member goes a long way in advancing the mission of the ISVCA as a global society representing our game-changing field. Please renew your membership today to support the society as it plans the 15th ISVCA Congress, in Cancun to provide you with the highest quality scientific programming and showcase cutting-edge advances in VCA. See you all in Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico in June 2022!
It has been a difficult year for us all, and many of our colleagues have faced challenges in pursuing their research; however, we all continue to work towards our goal of promoting xenotransplantation.
The 28th International Congress of The Transplantation Society, TTS2020, was held virtually. Several instructive 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; the design of clinical trials for islets, corneas, and kidneys.
Exciting news, including the results from the first finalized study of pre-clinical life-supporting orthotopic pig-to-baboon cardiac xenotransplantation that meets the ISHLT guidelines for clinical trials was 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.
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.
The IXA remains the foremost global organization dedicated to the advancement of xenotransplantation. The next several years promise to be very fruitful and we encourage our colleagues in TTS and those who attended the Congress to become members of the IXA and join us as we bring the future closer to home.
This year’s Carl-Gustav Groth Xeno Prize is shared by Joachim Hundrieser and Rabea Hein of the Hannover Medical School, co-first authors of the paper entitled ‘Role of human and porcine MHC DRB1 alleles in determining the intensity of individual human anti-pig T-cell responses’. The manuscript was selected as the best submitted to our official journal, Xenotransplantation, during 2019.
Since my last IRTA update the world has changed, SARS-CoV-2 the virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic has killed over 1.1 million people world-wide.
We have had to adjust our clinical practices around the various restrictions imposed or recommended by governments, regulatory bodies, health care organizations, local councils and institutional leadership. Social distancing and wearing appropriate PPE has become a new normal for many of us. Telehealth, talked about but not necessarily operationalized by many institutions for years, has grown apace. Yet through all this our patients continue to require our care and support. Transplants have continued and fortuitously it appears that individuals on immunosuppressive medication may be at no increased risk of serious disease from this virus than the healthy population at large. In response to the pandemic and within the scope of our society we have initiated, in conjunction with to Society of Pediatric Liver Transplantation (also a Section of TTS), the SPLIT-IRTA Email Listserv to facilitate conversation around the impact of COVID-19 on our patients and programs – please see our website for details. Additionally, a survey to pull together global experience of COVID-19 infections in Intestine transplant recipients has been led by Dr. Gabriel Gondolesi. We ask if anyone knows that their center has not yet completed the survey please do it now because data is currently being analyzed for future publication.
Another victim of the pandemic has been our biennial meeting, scheduled to be held in Auckland, New Zealand next summer. It has been reluctantly decided that this will now be a hybrid meeting, with local attendees in New Zealand and a virtual platform for participation by IRTA members across the globe. The meeting will still hosted by the Auckland team and details of the program, registration and abstract submission will be forthcoming over the next few months. We are already in early planning stages for our next in person congress in 2023 and the selected city will be announced at the Congress in July.
Our committees have been active, and the Allied Health Committee has led by example working on “Best Practice Guidelines” and hosting two hour-long webinars this year in February and October, both of which were excellent. More events will be hosted, and I hope as many of you as possible will be able to join.
The Membership and Education committees have been consolidated under the leadership of Dr. Laurens Ceulemans with the intent of building value to members through educational offering beyond just our biennial CIRTA meeting, with emphasis on planning a series of Webinars on the many aspects of intestinal failure and intestine transplantation.
The Scientific and IF Registry committees, led by Drs. Rob Venick and Yaron Aviztur, have been very much focused on transitioning the Registries (ITR and IFR) to a new home. Earlier this year we were informed by the Terasaki Research Institute (TRI) that Dr. Matthew Everly was leaving the institute and that a strategic change of direction was underway. The TRI had decided it was no longer able to support our Registries and that we needed to identify a new home for our accumulated data and the infrastructure to continue and expand the work of these registries. To cut a very long story short the Registries will be transferred to their new home at the The Transplantation
Society Headquarters in Montreal, Canada. We have also engaged Matt Everly to continue to lead the analytic portion, including the annual reports, to maintain continuity while more permanent in-house expertise is established.
The IFR has completed the pilot phase of the pediatric arm with 204 patients from 11 centers worldwide, and despite the turmoil resultingfrom relocating the registries, Dr. Avitzur, Chair of the IFR Committee, is expecting to launch the full pediatric registry open to all centers later this month in large part due to the support provided through an unrestricted grant from Takeda. Additionally, development of the adult arm of the IFR is in the early discussion stages of development.
It has not been an easy year and I have heard some people refused to put their clocks back this Autumn because they don’t want even one more hour in 2020 than they have to! However, the IRTA has continued to look forward and hope to engage with membership and the intestinal failure and transplant community to an even greater extent in the coming months and years.
In March, we partnered with The Transplantation Society to provide rapid publication of information from around the world of the different experiences seen by a variety of physicians globally – from Wuhan in China to New York in the United States including many countries in Asia and Europe. Over the subsequent months we have had 167 submissions on the subject and have accepted 33 of them. These papers, like all of our accepted material, are published first in the Online First section of the Transplantation journal so they are instantly accessible within a few days of acceptance.gues in TTS and those who attended the Congress to become members of the IXA and join us as we bring the future closer to home.
We have thus brought to you a wide range of experiences and opinions on how to handle the impact of this pandemic. In May, we reported the salutary message that much transplantation research had been halted both in the laboratory and the clinic. In January we are publishing a whole issue on the lessons we have learnt this year from COVID, which we hope will help us manage the current pandemic better and also think carefully about how to respond more speedily, effectively and efficiently than we have this time around. Transplantation Direct publishes articles online continuously as an intrinsic part of the way that online open access journals function and has also received many COVID papers and have so far published six.
|IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT
John J. Fung
Gabriel G. Gondolesi
Randall E. Morris
Nadey Hakim Martí
Maria Christina Ribeiro De Castro
Maria Gerbase De Lima
|MIDDLE EAST / AFRICA
Camille N. Kotton