Pilots: some of the unsung heroes in organ transplants

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— Todd Ratzlaff’s Sunday evening was winding down.

He had picked up his three children, ages 11, 14 and 15, from swim practice. They’d eaten dinner and were settling in at their Trafalgar home. It was 7 or 8 p.m.

That’s when his iPhone rang.

A few hours later, Ratzlaff was off to help save lives. He is a pilot for TxJet, a subsidiary of the Indiana Donor Network that transports life-saving organs to recipients in Indiana.

That Sunday in November, he and ...

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More than 10,000 donated organs in 2017, marking a record

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Victoria Arias wanted to save lives.

The 18-year-old Arizona honor student was preparing to head to St. Mary’s University of Minnesota with the hope of becoming a doctor.

She played the violin and volleyball, and was a devout Catholic who had saved up for a pilgrimage to Rome to see the pope. Victoria had plans for the future.

“She wanted to be a trauma surgeon,” her mother, Lorena Arias, said. “She had big dreams. She was going to do it.”

Victoria did end up ...

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Post-heart transplant cancer rates are climbing

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More than 10 percent of heart transplant recipients developed cancer between one and five years post-transplantation—most commonly skin cancer—according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Survival in transplant patients with de novo malignancy—the first occurrence of cancer in the body—is markedly shorter than those with no malignancy, reported lead author Jong-Chan Youn, MD, PhD, and colleagues.

“Importantly, the increased risk of mortality was sizeable even for patients diagnosed with skin cancer; this finding is in contrast to the ...

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Preventing hypoxic injury in transplanted kidneys

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A nephrology laboratory at University of California San Diego School of Medicine is currently investigating possible interventions to help prevent and treat hypoxic kidney injury to improve outcomes for kidney transplant patients. The lab, led by principal investigator Dianne McKay, MD, explains why it is important to understand these injuries and some interesting places they are finding answers.

Question: Why is understanding hypoxic injury important for transplantation?

Answer: All organs used for transplantation undergo hypoxic injury because the removal of the organ from ...

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Key found to making transplant rejection a thing of the past?

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Houston Methodist researchers have cracked a code in T-cells that could make autoimmune diseases and organ transplant rejection a thing of the past.

Wenhao Chen, Ph.D., a scientist in the Immunobiology and Transplant Science Center at the Houston Methodist Research Institute, and his colleagues have identified a critical switch that controls T-cell function and dysfunction and have discovered a pathway to target it.

Their findings are described in an article titled “Ablation of Transcription Factor IRF4 Promotes Transplant Acceptance by Driving Allogenic ...

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Giving young organ transplant recipients a mobile reminder that might save their lives

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In the U.S., more than 1,700 children receive organ transplants each year. Following transplantation, they must take immunosuppressants and steroids to protect their transplanted organ from being attacked by their own immune system.

But transplant teams know that kids are 60 percent more likely than adults to struggle with keeping a strict medication schedule. That puts the longevity of donated organs — and the lives of organ recipients — at unnecessary risk.

This challenge inspired a team of pediatric transplant experts at ...

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50 Years Ago This Week: Inside the First Heart Transplant

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It was a medical breakthrough generations in the making. For as long as doctors had understood the crucial role of the heart, they had dreamed of using transplants to save people whose heart problems would otherwise doom them to death. Earlier attempts, especially before the discovery of blood types, had failed. Now, in late 1967, there were suddenly not one but two real-life examples to point to.

Though one of the operations (a transplant between babies, in Brooklyn) failed, the other ...

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Education Corner – 2018 Donate Life Rose Parade Float

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2018 Donate Life Rose Parade Float
  • Donate Life first entered a float in 2004 in the New Year’s Day Rose Parade.
  • The floats – and the donors and recipients they represent – have been honored repeatedly with various Rose Parade awards.
  • The Donate Life float has become a time-honored tradition for the donation and transplantation community.
  • This year’s Rose Parade theme is “Making a Difference.”
The 2018 Donate Life “The Gift of Time” Float

“The Gift of Time”, depicts a vibrantly colored, tropical backdrop that dates ...

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Brain remaps itself in child with double hand transplant

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The first child to undergo a successful hand transplant also is the first child in whom scientists have detected massive changes in how sensations from the hands are represented in the brain. The brain reorganization is thought to have begun six years before the transplant, when the child had both hands amputated because of a severe infection during infancy. Notably, after he received transplanted hands, the patient’s brain reverted toward a more typical pattern.

Each area of the body that receives ...

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The first baby in the U.S. born from a uterus transplant is here

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For the first time in the United States, a woman who was born without a uterus gave birth to a baby. The landmark birth took place at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, a part of Baylor Scott & White.

“We’ve been preparing for this moment for a very long time,” says Dr. Liza Johannesson, an ob-gyn and uterus transplant surgeon at Baylor. “I think everyone had tears in their eyes when the baby came out. I did for sure.” The ...

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