Thursday, February 13, 2014

Approaches to alleviating the shortage of transplant organs: AAAS annual meeting

Weather permitting, I'll be on my way to Chicago today for a session at the AAAS meeting, on the shortage of organs for transplants.

Transplant Organ Shortage: Informing National Policies using Management Sciences
Friday, 14 February 2014: 10:00 AM-11:30 AM
Columbus IJ (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

Since the first successful kidney transplant in 1954, outcomes have improved dramatically.  As a result,  the wait list for organ transplants has grown significantly over time. With only about 17,000  kidneys available from combined living and deceased donors annually, there are currently 99,000 Americans waiting for a kidney transplant, and the wait-list mortality is now higher than ever before. National policies for organ allocation are largely dictated by legislative priorities, but the organ shortage results in a number of disparities and therefore,  there is a growing interest in optimizing organ allocation policies to develop a balance between fairness, utility and efficiency.
Organs are a limited, perishable resource and using them more effectively saves more lives. The speakers in this briefing have taken an inter-disciplinary approach to addressing the organ allocation in the U.S., suggesting compelling and provocative solutions. Michael Abecassis, a transplant surgeon and Chief of the Transplant Program at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, and Past President of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons will offer a brief overview of the current issues facing organ allocation. John Friedewald, a transplant nephrologist and  Past Chair of the United Network for Organ Sharing Kidney and Pancreas Committee, that oversaw the most recent proposed changes in kidney allocation, also from Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, will speak about the implications of these recent proposed changes to deceased donor kidney allocation policy. Nobel laureate (2012) and Stanford University economist Alvin Roth will discuss the evolution of innovative solutions to the organ shortage and how mathematical models are used to optimize Kidney Paired Donation and the impact of increasing living donor kidney transplants on the waiting list for deceased donor transplants. Sanjay Mehrotra from the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University will discuss how simulation models can be used to optimize deceased donor kidney utilization to maximize utility.  Mark Siegler Director of the University of Chicago’s MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics and executive director of the Bucksbaum Institute for Clinical Excellence will  will challenge some long-held beliefs about living donors and will address the salient issues related to ethical considerations in potential solutions to the organ shortage..

Michael Abecassis MD MBA, J. Roscoe Miller Distinguished Professor of Surgery and Microbiology/Immunology, Chief, Division of Transplantaiton, and Founding Director, Comprehensive Transplant Center Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

John Friedewald MD, Associate Professor of Medicine and Surgery, Comprehensive Transplant Center, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and former chair, Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network/United Network for Organ Sharing Kidney Transplantation Committee

Sanjay Mehrotra PhD, Professor, Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences, Northwestern University McCormick School of Engineering, and Director, Center for Engineering and Health, Institute for Public Health and Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Addressing Allocation Inefficiencies and Geographic Disparities

Alvin Roth PhD, Craig and Susan McCaw Professor of Economics, Stanford University, and co-recipient of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences
Allocating Donor Organs in Ways that Increase Their Availability

Mark Siegler MD, Lindy Bergman Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine and Surgery, University of Chicago Medicine, Founding Director of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics and Executive Director of the Bucksbaum Institute for Clinical Excellence

Ethical Considerations for Innovative Strategies to Increase the Supply of Organs
Update: here's a picture of the panel:

and here's a news story: Math saving lives: New models help address kidney organ donation shortages

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