DAAs prove effective for HCV-infected heart transplant patients

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Direct-acting antiviral (DAA) drugs proved safe and effective for hepatitis C (HCV) patients who had undergone heart transplants, according to new research.

Jia-Horng Kao, MD, PhD, FAASLD, and a team from the National Taiwan University Hospital in Taipei, found that 12 individuals given sofosbuvir combined with ledipasvir (Harvoni) or sofosbuvir (Sovaldi) combined with daclatasvir (Daklinza) achieved a sustained virologic response rate of 100% after 12 weeks.

Interferon-free DAAs have shown excellent efficacy and safety for ordinary patients with chronic HCV infection, the researchers ...

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In some patients, hepatitis C best treated after transplant

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Direct-acting antiviral drugs can eradicate the hepatitis C virus, even in patients with advanced liver decompensation. But their outcomes may be better if treatment occurs after transplant, according to a recent study looking at this issue.

The goal of the study was to determine when life expectancy was improved with DAA treatment, before or after liver transplant. One reason these may differ is that the trade-off for improved liver function with early treatment is the risk for delay—or even delisting for ...

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UNOS searches for a fairer way to distribute donor livers

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More than 16,000 Americans are waiting for a liver transplant because of conditions such as hepatitis, cancer or cirrhosis. But only about 7,000 livers are donated each year. Most patients know their odds aren’t great.

And their chances also vary based on where they live.

“In some areas of the country, patients have to wait a lot longer than in other areas,” says Julie Heimbach, a transplant surgeon at the Mayo Clinic. “They have to get much sicker before they can access a liver ...

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How first “kidney vouchers” led to 25 lifesaving transplants

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In 2014 a former judge from San Diego County approached the UCLA Kidney Transplant Program with an unusual request: If the judge donated a kidney to a stranger now, could his then 4-year-old grandson, who suffered from chronic kidney disease, receive priority for a future kidney transplant if needed later in life?

The suggestion from Howard Broadman, then 64 years old, initiated the kidney “voucher” program, an innovative system allowing living donors to donate a kidney now, or at some time in the ...

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World’s First 3-D Printed Tibia Transplanted

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Surgeons in Australia have successfully performed a world-first transplant surgery, installing a 3D printed tibia into the leg of Reuben Lichter, who faced losing his leg above the knee to amputation. The 3D printed tibia was wrapped in blood vessels and leg tissue from both of his legs. Just over two weeks ago, in the last in a series of five surgeries, the procedure was declared a success. For the next nine months at least, the doctors hope to observe ...

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Heat therapy may aid treatment of cancer, organ transplants and autoimmune disease

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Heat therapy may be a promising treatment in the fight against cancer, autoimmune problems and efforts to avoid organ rejection in transplant patients, according to researchers at the University of Kentucky. The research team exposed colorectal cancer cells and T-cells—immune cells that fight disease—to temperatures lower (hypothermic) and higher (hyperthermic) than normal body temperatures. They observed the effects of these temperature changes on the energy production (bioenergetics) in both cell types. They will present their findings at the American Physiological ...

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Donor intervention strategies have potential to increase number of transplantable organs

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In a recent article published in The Hastings Center Report, the authors assert that “interventional research on deceased organ donors and donor organs prior to transplant holds the promise of reducing the number of patients who die waiting for an organ by expanding the pool of transplantable organs and improving transplant outcomes.” The authors posit, “one of the key challenges researchers face is an assumption that someone who receives an organ that was part of an interventional research ...

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Nanoparticles “trick” body into accepting organ transplants

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Using nanoparticles, Yale researchers have developed a drug-delivery system that could reduce organ transplant complications by hiding the donated tissue from the recipient’s immune system.

About 25,000 organ transplants are performed in the U.S. each year. Despite significant advances in the field, short-term and long-term organ rejection still poses a risk (rejection rates vary depending on the type of organ). The risk of rejection is even higher when the donor is deceased, due to organ damage.

T cells, the white blood cells ...

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Novel procedure improves kidney transplant success

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A new treatment might open the door for more patients with advanced kidney disease to get a transplant, a preliminary study suggests.

Of the 100,000-plus Americans waiting for a donor kidney, about one-third are “sensitized,” said Dr. Robert Montgomery, director of the Transplant Institute at NYU Langone in New York City.

Those patients face a tough situation: They harbor immune system antibodies that are primed to attack a donor organ.

The antibodies can form when a person is ...

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Pros and Cons: Infecting patients with hepatitis C to save their lives

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Around the country, physicians have begun transplanting HIV-positive organs into HIV-positive patients, thanks to the reversal in 2013 of a 1998 law that banned their use. And it has become standard for transplant centers to give hep C–positive organs to patients who already have a hep C infection. Now doctors have crossed a medical threshold—and an ethical one: giving infected kidneys and livers to people who had no trace of hep C to help them get an organ ...

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