Catching up with science fiction: innovation in transplant care


Decades ago, as a young intern, Dr. Mikel Prieto, a transplant surgeon at the Mayo Clinic, said that the one-year success rate of donor organs may be as low as 25%. He said that the short-term success rate of most organ transplants now is in the 1980s or 1990s.

Although there are still fairness and accessibility issues, due to major developments in this field, organ transplantation has become safer and more routine.

Take the kidney as an example.

“Most people don’t realize how successful a kidney transplant is,” Prieto said. “If you come to receive a kidney transplant, the chance of you going home for a transplant is between 98% and 99%.”

Mid-America Transplant President and CEO Diane Brockmeier (Diane Brockmeier) said that advances in technology and medicine have made organs of elderly donors and those of donors with hepatitis C or HIV usable. Methods for disease control after transplantation. Donors who have tested positive for COVID-19 are currently undergoing transplant evaluation.

In addition, doctors have made steady progress in understanding the immune system and finding new drugs to prevent organ rejection or fight the common infections that patients experience during immunosuppression, Prieto said.

“The most important thing in transplantation is safety,” said Dr. Manuel Rodriguez-Davalos, Director of Liver Transplantation at Intermountain Healthcare Junior Children’s Hospital. “We want to make sure that everything we do for patients gets the right results and can change their lives.”

Quality improvement in this area has the potential for huge impact. According to data from the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network, from 2015 to 2020, the number of organ transplants increased from 30,974 to 39,036 each year. In 2021, mainly due to the stagnation of procedures not related to COVID-19, the number of transplants dropped to 31,363.

According to a report by 2020 Precedence Research, by 2027, the global organ transplant market is expected to climb to more than US$27 billion, with a compound annual growth rate of 9.5%. In 2019, the global market was worth 13.1 billion U.S. dollars.

This predicted increase is mainly due to the growing demand for transplant and tissue transplant products for the treatment of organ failure, as well as other needs from biotech companies.

Experts say that among all the innovations in the transplantation field in recent years, some are the most important breakthroughs.

Machine infusion

The timely transportation of organs is a major challenge in transplantation, as many organs are too far away from the patient to reach their destination under feasible conditions.

Rodríguez Davalos, medical director of living donor liver transplantation at the Mountain Medical Center, said that in order to avoid losing organs due to time, machine perfusion was invented to preserve the donor organs for a long enough time for transplantation.

With this technology, the organ is stored at a set temperature, and the machine causes blood to flow through the organ at a continuous speed. He said these machines allow organs to be stored anywhere from 12 hours to 72 hours for delivery.



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