Researchers examine barriers to organ donation and possible remedies

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Two new collaborative papers by UC Merced Economics Professor Kurt Schnier reveal that increasing the incentives and eliminating barriers for donors — both living and deceased — would greatly improve other people’s chances of receiving life-saving transplants.

One collaboration, involving a transplant surgeon and two other economists, focused on increasing people’s willingness to be deceased organ donors. The other collaboration, involving two transplant surgeons and a public health researcher, investigated a government policy targeted at increasing living organ donation by lowering donor-related costs.

Both ...

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New intervention aims to improve treatment adherence among teen kidney transplant recipients

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Learning to become self-sufficient and responsible is part of life’s journey through the teen and young adult years. Mistakes are often made, and lessons are learned. However, for young kidney-graft patients, any mistake or failure in keeping to their strict immunosuppressive therapy can lead to tragic results. In fact, low-adherence to medication remains a major contributor to the high level of organ rejection in this age group.

Transplant specialists and researchers from eight leading pediatric medical centers across Canada and the ...

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UVA launches human testing of lung transplant drug

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In the culmination of decades of research at the University of Virginia Health System, doctors have begun human testing of a drug they hope will one day save many lives among lung transplant recipients.

The drug, regadenoson, is already commonly used to image cardiac patients’ hearts. But the UVA research suggests it could be put to another, lifesaving purpose: battling ischemia reperfusion injury, in which tissue is damaged by the restoration of blood flow after it has been cut off.

The principal ...

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Smithfield Foods donation helps fund development of life-saving technology

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RICHMOND, Va. — The Smithfield Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Smithfield Foods, Inc., has announced a $75,000 challenge grant to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) to fund a proof of concept phase for UNOS’ Timely Donor Referral technology pilot. Smithfield will match dollar-for-dollar all donations made to UNOS for the program, up to $75,000.

The Timely Donor Referral technology project’s goal is to change the inefficient manual processes utilized by hospital staff in the nation’s 5,500 donor hospitals when ...

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Newer drugs make hepatitis C-positive kidneys safe for transplant

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People who received kidneys from donors infected with hepatitis C did not become ill with the virus, thanks to treatment with newer drugs that can cure the disease, a small study reports.

Ten patients not previously infected with hepatitis C took doses of powerful antiviral medications before and after receiving the transplants. None of the patients developed chronic infections, researchers report online March 6 in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The finding could help make more kidneys available for transplants.

“If this increases access ...

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Study to look at extending heart transplantation donor pool

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With $4 million in funding from the Brockman Medical Research Foundation, surgeons and scientists at Baylor College of Medicine and the Texas Heart Institute will study the utility of previously unused organs to increase the number of heart transplantations, potentially making transplant possible for thousands of patients who die while waiting for an acceptable heart to become available.

“Only 3,000 heart transplants are performed annually and several thousand people with end-stage heart failure who are on the waitlist and could benefit from a ...

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Text message intervention improves alcohol abstinence after liver transplantation

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Patients who received text message intervention regarding alcohol use after liver transplantation had better treatment outcomes than those who received standard care, and they reported high satisfaction with the intervention, according to a recently published study.

“Survival rates of patients who resume excessive drinking posttransplant are significantly lower than those of abstinent patients or patients who have a minor lapse post-transplant,” Kelly S. DeMartini, MD, of Yale University School of Medicine, Psychiatry, and colleagues wrote. “Abstinence duration of less than 6 months pre-transplant ...

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Using telehealth tools to increase organ donation

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New York has one of the lowest rates for organ donation in the country, a problem the state has been actively working on for the last few years.

In October, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a number of executive orders to work toward improving donation numbers. This included making “Lauren’s Law” permanent, which requires all drivers to verify whether they’ll become an organ donor before their license is processed.

But not only does New York need more willing organ donors, it ...

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Kidney transplant can reverse platelet dysfunction in end-state renal disease, new study shows

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Platelet dysfunction due to renal diseases such as Alport syndrome can be effectively reversed with a successful kidney transplant, according to a study published in the Clinical Kidney Journal.

It is common for patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) to experience bleeding, more frequent bleeding into the skin, and bleeding from mucosal surfaces. Several disease-related and external factors are known to contribute to this.

Drugs such as anticoagulant agents used to prevent blood clots from forming during dialysis, gastrointestinal changes, and platelet dysfunction due to ...

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Man becomes first patient to receive a second face transplant

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Twelve years ago, a team of surgeons in France successfully completed the first-ever face transplant procedure. Unfortunately, seven years after the history-making surgery, the patient’s body rejected the transplant.

Since the rejection occurred, the patient has been living without a suitable alternative. In a risky move, surgeons decided to attempt to transplant a second face, this time from a different donor. It’s still too soon to say whether or not this transplant will be accepted, but the surgery itself was successful.

Rejection is likely ...

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