Tuesday, July 29, 2014

World transplant congress

Here's the program of the 2014 World Transplant Congress,

Joint meeting of

The logo of ASTSThe logo of TTSThe logo of AST
And here's my part of the program...my working title is "Transplantation: One economist’s perspective," and I'll talk about how changes in the organization of transplantation have increased access to transplants, and how further changes might lead to further improvements.

Here's some background on the meeting:

In 2006, history was made in the field of transplantation medicine. The largest meeting in transplant science was held in Boston, The World Transplant Congress (WTC). This meeting was a joint collaboration of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS), The Transplantation Society (TTS), and the American Society of Transplantation (AST) with record breaking attendance. There were over 6500 specialists in this field as well as an additional 1000 exhibit personnel.  
The three societies are joining together again for the Word Transplant Congress 2014, being held July 26 – 31 in San Francisco, California. WTC 2014 will bring together transplant scientists, physicians, surgeons, trainees, nurses, organ procurement personnel, pharmacists and other associated transplant professionals from around the world.  
Also speaking at the conference will by Shinya Yaminaka, who shared the 2012 Nobel Prize in medicine for his work on turning ordinary cells into stem cells. Here's a story in Nephrology News: Nobel Laureates to deliver lectures at Transplant Congress

"Recent progress in iPS cell research towards regenerative medicine
Professor Shinya Yamanaka, MD, PhD, is the Director of the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA) at Kyoto University in Japan. In 2012, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of reprogramming and converting mature, specialized cells into pluripotent cells, capable of developing into all tissues of the body.

During his State-of-the-Art address on Wednesday, July 30, Dr. Yamanaka will provide characteristics of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which have the ability to proliferate and differentiate into multiple lineages. He will discuss technologies related to iPSC generation, in addition to improvements achieved in iPSC production in terms of both safety and efficiency. These iPSCs and subsequently differentiated target cells/ tissues would provide unprecedented opportunities in regenerative medicine, disease modelling, proof-of-concept studies in drug development, drug screening, and future personalized medicine."

Monday, July 28, 2014

Council of Europe reaffirms opposition to all forms of payment for human organs

Press release - DC085(2014)
A Council of Europe Convention to combat trafficking in human organs
Strasbourg, 09.07.2014 – The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has adopted an international convention to make trafficking in human organs for transplant a criminal offence, to protect victims and to facilitate cooperation at national and international levels in order to prosecute more effectively those responsible for trafficking.
The Convention calls on governments to establish as a criminal offence the illegal removal of human organs from living or deceased donors:
- where the removal is performed without the free, informed and specific consent of the living or deceased donor, or, in the case of the deceased donor, without the removal being authorised under its domestic law;
- where, in exchange for the removal of organs, the living donor, or a third party, receives a financial gain or comparable advantage;
- where in exchange for the removal of organs from a deceased donor, a third party receives a financial gain or comparable advantage.
The Convention also provides protection measures and compensation for victims as well as prevention measures to ensure transparency and equitable access to transplantation services.
Due to its worldwide scope, the Convention will be open shortly for signature by member states and non-member states of the Council of Europe. Spain has offered to host the ceremony for the opening for signature by the end of 2014/beginning of 2015.
Link to the Convention and its explanatory report - For more information see the factsheet

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Debate on organ sales in Journal of Medical Ethics

The March 2014 issue of the Journal of Medical Ethics features a lively (but familiar) debate on whether it should be legal to sell kidneys. All the authors are philosophers.  (I am ready for some empirical evidence, which is of course hard to collect when existing laws are interpreted as preventing experimentation of most sorts.)
Here are the articles:

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