Friday, February 26, 2010

FDA approves Cayston® (aztreonam for inhalation solution) for P. aeruginosa in CF patients

First New Inhaled Anti-Pseudomonal Therapy Approved for Cystic Fibrosis Patients in More Than 10 Years
FOSTER CITY, Calif., Feb 22, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Gilead Sciences, Inc. (Nasdaq:GILD) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted marketing approval for Cayston® (aztreonam for inhalation solution) as a treatment to improve respiratory symptoms in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients with Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa). Cayston's safety and efficacy have not been established in pediatric patients below the age of 7, patients with forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) of less than 25 percent or greater than 75 percent predicted, or patients colonized with Burkholderia cepacia.

Cayston is administered at a dose of 75 mg three times daily over a 28-day period and is delivered via the Altera® Nebulizer System, a portable, drug-specific delivery device using the eFlow® Technology Platform, developed by PARI Pharma GmbH. PARI Pharma also contributed to the development of Cayston's drug formulation for delivery with the Altera Nebulizer System. Cayston will be available in the United States by the end of next week through certain specialty pharmacies.

"All of us at Gilead extend our thanks to the investigators and to the people with cystic fibrosis who took part in the Cayston clinical trials," said Norbert Bischofberger, PhD, Gilead's Executive Vice President, Research and Development and Chief Scientific Officer. "We look forward to making Cayston available to the cystic fibrosis community as soon as possible."

CF is a chronic, debilitating genetic condition that affects the respiratory and digestive systems of approximately 70,000 people worldwide, including 30,000 people in the United States. Chronic respiratory tract infection with P. aeruginosa contributes to the decline in pulmonary function, which is often associated with morbidity and mortality among CF patients.

"Since its founding in the 1950s, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation has worked to advance the care and treatment of cystic fibrosis and we are pleased with the progress to date," said Robert J. Beall, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. "However, a significant need for new treatments remains for people with cystic fibrosis, particularly for those with chronic pseudomonal infection. As the first new inhaled antibiotic approved for use in cystic fibrosis in more than a decade, Cayston therefore represents an important therapeutic option in the care of patients with cystic fibrosis."

Cayston received conditional marketing authorizations in the European Union and Canada in September 2009 and was approved in Australia in January 2010. Applications for marketing approval of Cayston are currently pending in Switzerland and Turkey.

Reimbursement and Access to Care

Gilead also announced today the establishment of a program designed to minimize barriers to access for Cayston for uninsured, privately insured and government-insured people with cystic fibrosis.

Additionally, Gilead is launching the Cayston® Access Program, a call center developed with Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Pharmacy, LLC,a wholly owned subsidiary of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The program will assist people with cystic fibrosis and members of their care team with insurance verification, referral to participating specialty pharmacies, claims support and co-pay assistance. For information about the Cayston Access Program, call 1-877-7CAYSTON (877-722-9786) or visit http://www.cayston.com.

About Cayston

Cayston (aztreonam for inhalation solution) 75 mg is an inhaled antibiotic for patients with cystic fibrosis who have P. aeruginosa. Aztreonam has potent in vitro activity against gram-negative aerobic pathogens including P. aeruginosa. Cayston contains aztreonam formulated with lysine, a proprietary formulation of aztreonam developed specifically for inhalation. Aztreonam formulated with arginine has previously been approved by FDA for intravenous administration.

Cayston is administered three times a day for a 28-day course, followed by 28 days off of Cayston therapy. Cayston is administered by inhalation and should only be used with an Altera Nebulizer System. Patients should use a bronchodilator before administration of Cayston.

For information about the Eflow technology and drug safety information read the full News Release

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Register to be an organ and tissue donor & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”
Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network. NEW for Ontario: recycleMe.org - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here
In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at ShareYourLife.org or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov
In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register
In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register
Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves
Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Liver recipient competes in Vancouver Olympics



By Allan Dowd Reuters
American snowboarder Chris Klug is more than just happy to be in the Olympics, he is happy to be healthy and alive and is using the Vancouver Games to get out the message on organ donors and recipients.

The 37-year-old Aspen, Colorado resident, who was suffering a rare degenerative condition, received a liver transplant in 2000 and now hopes that adding to his Olympic medal collection will prove a point.

"It is important that other people going through the process that I did almost 10 years ago see what is possible after a transplant," Klug told reporters on Tuesday as he waits to compete in the men's parallel giant slalom on Feb. 27.

"I'm healthier and stronger than I was before my transplant, and people ought to know that."

Klug, who won bronze in the 2002 Salt Lake City Games and became the first athlete to win an Olympic medal after having a major organ transplant, is working with health officials in Vancouver to publicize the need for organ donors.

He competed in the 1998 Nagano Games, when snowboarding made its Olympic debut, and acknowledges Vancouver will probably be his last Olympics.

Klug's previous Olympic experiences, both good and bad, have taught him some valuable lessons for how to enjoy his time in Vancouver. He looked relaxed as he chatted to reporters.

"One of my mantras and goals this time is just enjoy the ride. Take it all in."


“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Register to be an organ and tissue donor & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network. NEW for Ontario: recycleMe.org - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at ShareYourLife.org or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register

In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Lung transplant trial of inhaled Cyclosporine now closed to enrollment

Let's hope the clinical trials discussed in this press release prove to be successful in reducing the rate of chronic rejection in lung transplant recipients, the most common reason for the current 3-year post transplant survival rate of 60 percent with average survival overall less than 5 years.

APT Pharmaceuticals Completes Enrollment in Phase III for Inhaled Cyclosporine

Leading medical centers in North America participate in study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of cyclosporine inhalation solution in preventing chronic rejection in lung transplant recipients.

Burlingame, CA, APT Pharmaceuticals February 24, 2010

APT Pharmaceuticals, a specialty drug development company focused on the development of inhaled cyclosporine, announced today that it has completed enrollment in its Phase III CYCLIST trial. The multi-center, randomized, controlled study enrolled 288 recent lung transplant recipients across 19 leading centers in North America, including the Cleveland Clinic; the University of Pittsburgh; and the University of California, San Francisco.

The objective of the CYCLIST trial is to evaluate the safety and efficacy of cyclosporine inhalation solution in improving bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS)-free survival following lung transplantation. Lung transplantation is a life-saving procedure for people with end-stage lung diseases who have exhausted all other available treatment options. However, average survival post-lung transplant is less than five years -- significantly less than all other forms of solid organ transplant. Poor long-term outcomes in lung transplant patients appear to relate to BOS, a manifestation of chronic rejection, which remains a persistent problem despite administration of multi-drug systemic immunosuppressive regimens.

"We appreciate the broad support provided by the community of lung transplant centers, advocacy groups, patients and caregivers," said Dr. Charlie Johnson, chief medical officer of APT Pharmaceuticals. "They have exceeded our expectations by enrolling this trial in just over a year."

About Cyclosporine Inhalation Solution

Cyclosporine Inhalation Solution (CIS) is an inhaled formulation of cyclosporine A, an oral medication that has been widely used for over 25 years to prevent rejection in solid organ transplant recipients. Preliminary clinical studies of CIS in lung transplant recipients have been conducted, including a placebo-controlled study that was published as the lead article in the New England Journal of Medicine in January 2006 (Iacono et al 2006). This small, single-center, randomized, controlled, Phase II study showed that administration of inhaled cyclosporine, initiated soon after transplantation, reduced chronic rejection and improved survival while not increasing the risk of infection. This study led to the multi-center, APT Phase III CYCLIST study.

About APT Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

APT Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is focused on the development of cyclosporine inhalation solution (CIS) for the prevention and treatment of chronic rejection in lung transplantation. The company has successfully enrolled a large, multi-center Phase III clinical trial evaluating the effect of CIS on chronic rejection. APT is preparing for study data and commercialization of the product in the US and Europe. Leading life sciences investors Charter Life Sciences, Great Point Partners, InterWest Partners, Pinnacle Ventures, Research Corporation Technologies, Three Arch Partners, Versant Ventures and Vivo Ventures back APT.

Disclaimer

Cyclosporine Inhalation Solution (CIS) is an investigational drug and is not currently approved by the FDA.

For more information about APT, please visit http://www.aptbio.com.

For more information about the CYCLIST trial, please visit http://www.cycliststudy.com.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Register to be an organ and tissue donor & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network. NEW for Ontario: recycleMe.org - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at ShareYourLife.org or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register

In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Australians asked to join organ donor register

The Observer

Join the organ donor register

DONATING organs is not as simple as signing a form.

This week, as part of Australian Organ Donor Awareness week, people are being urged to become donors by registering with the Australian Organ Donor Register, as well as informing their family of their decision.

DonateLife Queensland spokeswoman Kate Stodart said it was essential to the donation process to discuss the decision with next of kin.

In Queensland, residents can no longer register to be organ donors on their driver’s license, but can through the Australian Organ Donor Register.

Australia’s current national family consent rate for organ donation to proceed is just 56%.

Over 1700 Australians are currently on the waiting list and 50 are children.

In 2009, 161 Queenslanders received life-saving organ transplants.

As of January 2010, more than 1.3 million Australians were registered.

For more information about the Australian Organ Donor Register, or to register your decision go to http://www.medicareaustralia.gov.au>.

Organ donation statistics

  • Every donor has the potential to improve the lives of 10 people.


  • Australians have been receiving life-giving organ transplants as well as tissue transplants since 1965.


  • To date more than 35,000 men, women and children have received life-saving or life-enhancing transplants.


  • Australia boasts one of the highest transplantation success rates in the world. Kidney transplant survival rates are about 90 per cent in the first year and over 75 per cent in five years.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Register to be an organ and tissue donor & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network. NEW for Ontario: recycleMe.org - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at ShareYourLife.org or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register

In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Family needs $12,000 to be placed on wait list for lung transplant

Here's another story about a family in desperate circumstances because their financial situation may deny their loved one a second chance of life simply because they cannot come up with a 'down payment' for her lung transplant. Read on.

John “Fonzie” Benson stands with his two daughters in happier times. John donated platelets and Yvonne (right) gave stem cells to help Yvette (center) beat back an aggressive form of leukemia not long before this photo was taken about eight years ago. Since then, this lovely young woman has been forced once again to fight for her life, and desperately needs a lung transplant.

By ARVILLA PRITCHARD
Special to the OBSERVER

CATTARAUGUS, New York - Yvette Matthews is only 40 years old, but her lungs have pretty much stopped delivering oxygen to a body starved for it.

She desperately needs a double lung transplant, but can't even get placed on the waiting list until her family scrapes together $12,000 to demonstrate their good faith effort to pay for the procedure and for her lengthy convalescent care.

Yvette's dad, John Benson, her sister, Yvonne, and the rest of the family, have been doing everything they can to help. They've rallied 'round for years now, since this is not the first health crisis she's endured, being a leukemia survivor, as well.

During that battle, John donated platelets and Yvonne had stem cells harvested to help Yvette overcome the killer disease.

"She's had it pretty tough for about 12 years now," said John about Yvette, who lived and taught in Dunkirk.

Starting in 1999, when she was first diagnosed with acute leukemia, she's spent much of her time in one hospital after another, beginning with the Roswell Cancer Institute in Buffalo.

Doctors there managed to drive her leukemia into remission, using every weapon at their disposal, including chemo, full-body radiation, and stem-cell transplants.

The family had little time to celebrate. Within months Yvette began feeling some shortness of breath. At first, she took little notice, blaming it on her lingering weakness from the extreme (but, at the time necessary) leukemia treatments.

Her lungs, however, deteriorated rapidly. Her breathing grew shallower, less effective, until she found herself gasping for breath, and finally unable to breathe at all without the aid of a ventilator. The last two years have been pretty much a nightmare, according to John. Gradually, pulmonary specialists at the Cleveland Clinic moved into the lead in dealing with her rapidly advancing lung failure.

Things came to a head two days before New Year's Eve, when Yvette, on a much anticipated hospital break at home with her family for Christmas, suddenly became terribly ill. She was rushed to Roswell in critical condition. Next morning, her heart stopped, but thankfully, was restarted. Doctors at Roswell contacted Cleveland Clinic, where they readied a helicopter to get her. Rapidly worsening weather conditions necessitated dispatching an ambulance instead.

Yvette made it to Cleveland, where she was put back on the ventilator and treated for a near-fatal attack of viral pneumonia. Losing strength steadily, she became much too weak to undergo the additional trauma of a transplant, even had the family managed to gather the money.

Just over two weeks ago, Cleveland transported her to the Select Specialty Hospital in Erie, Pa. "It's a place designed specifically to deal with situations like Yvette's," explained John. "What they do is, they try to wean her off the ventilator and get her strong enough for the surgery."

For John and Yvonne, Yvette's transfer to Erie was a welcome one. They'd been driving the 400-plus mile round-trip to Cleveland every Sunday, just to sit with her for a few hours, fill her in on family happenings and offer some words of love and encouragement. With the ventilator tube filling her throat, Yvette couldn't utter a word--only pencil her questions and responses on a notepad.

In fact, John was overjoyed to report that one of the first things Select Specialty did was to equip Yvette with a "voice box," a device that could be placed against her trachea enabling her to speak a few words. "She hasn't been able to talk in so long," he related. "That meant a lot to her."

Once Select Specialty Hospital has achieved its goal of readying Yvette for her surgery, she'll be returned to Cleveland, where, eventually the transplant must take place. In addition to the cost of the procedure itself, the "Clinic" has informed John that Yvette will need to have a person with her "24/7" in the recovery area for at least eight weeks. "Rooms there are $65.00 a day," he reported gloomily, "and of course, there's gas and food."

John, better known as "Fonz" to his customers at Sixt Lumber in Little Valley, has worked at that location for over 35 years (dating back to when it was Salzler's Little Valley Materials. Yvonne teaches at Jellyroll Junction Preschool in South Dayton. When she was healthy, Yvette also worked as a teacher, at Pine Valley Central, and later in the Dunkirk school system.

The family has been figuring out how they'll fill that round-the-clock caretaker's role. Everyone works, and everyone needs to work, especially in the face of mounting medical bills. Right now, they're thinking two weeks for John, two for his wife and four for Yvonne.

To offset the mounting expenses, a series of benefits is being planned. Leading off, Yvette's Aunt Jane (Mrs. Phil Frentz) will head up a "Breath of Life" Benefit Spaghetti Dinner to be held at Roberts Memorial Free Methodist Church, Saturday from 4:30 until 7 p.m. Donations will be gratefully accepted.

The Little Valley United Methodist Church of Little Valley is also undertaking a donation-style benefit. This one will feature soup, salad and roast beef on weck, and is scheduled for Saturday, Apr. 10 from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Just before press time, Andy Barr, one of the organizers of a group new to Cattaraugus, called to say that ABATE (American Bikers Aim to Educate) will also stage a benefit for Yvette. Jeannette Pierce, who has taken on the responsibility of planning the event, said their group just heard about the need, and intends to move forward as quickly as possible. "We want to do something big," she said, adding that as soon as a time and place are set, they'll start publicizing it.

At this point, John and Yvonne, who live in New Albion, are exhausted, physically and financially. No wonder this remarkable outpouring of love so overwhelms them. "This should show the hospital that Yvette has people who care about her," said John.

It can only be hoped that the public will support these efforts to help Yvette win the fight of her life. Those who love her have taken it as far as they're able.



“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Register to be an organ and tissue donor & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network. NEW for Ontario: recycleMe.org - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at ShareYourLife.org or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register

In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Australian govt plans to pay hospitals for patients who become donors

Concerned over the low rate of organ donation, the Australian Government plans to give hospitals $11,400 for each patient who becomes a donor. If implemented, would this encourage hospitals to "pressure" patients into giving away their organs?

The Sydney Morning Herald

Lobby groups have backed a federal plan to cover the costs of harvesting organs, saying the scheme is welcome news for people waiting for transplants.

Kidney Health Australia and the International Transplantation Society on Sunday said Australia's level of organ donation was among the lowest in the world.

"(The program) is a positive step for the hundreds of Australians waiting for an organ transplant," they said in a joint statement.

According to News Ltd reports, the federal government plans to set aside $17 million for an "activity-based funding" scheme.

Hospitals could receive up to $11,400 for each patient who becomes a donor, with the funding designed to help hospitals cover the costs linked to transplants.

Kidney Health Australia chief executive Anne Wilson said 63 per cent of all organ transplants were kidney-related with an average wait of four years.

She said one person a week on average died while waiting for a kidney transplant.

Dr Jeremy Chapman, president of the International Transplantation Society, said the $17 million in federal funds would give hospitals the ability to look after living patients who were critically ill, and in life-threatening situations, while still looking after the needs of potential deceased organ donors and their families.

"Australia is at the leading edge of ensuring ethical care of deceased organ donors and this program further improves the process," he said in the statement.

But doctors are worried that the scheme could be seen as an incentive for hospitals to pressure patients into giving away their organs, News Ltd reported.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Register to be an organ and tissue donor & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network. NEW for Ontario: recycleMe.org - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at ShareYourLife.org or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register

In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Mayo Clinic Reports its First Lung Transplantation by Donation After Cardiac Death

Thursday, February 18, 2010
News Release
ROCHESTER, Minn. — Lung transplantation is a well-known therapy for patients with end-stage lung disease, but, as with other patients waiting for organs for transplantation, there are more recipients waiting than donors available. A potential solution for patients with end-stage lung disease is donation after cardiac death (DCD). Mayo Clinic reports its — and Minnesota's — first lung transplantation from DCD in the February issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

VIDEO ALERT: Additional audio and video resources including excerpts from an interview with Dr.Cassivi, describing the research are available on the Mayo Clinic News Blog. Please see the end of the release for details.

While brain death has become the most widely used criteria for organ donation over the past few decades, the earliest organ donations were from deceased donors following cardiac death, says Stephen Cassivi, M.D., Mayo Clinic thoracic surgeon and lead study author. "Today, our critical shortage of organs has brought about renewed interest in DCD organ procurement," he says. Few centers across the country perform DCD organ procurement for lung transplantation, and until recently only about 60 procedures have been done in the United States.

Mayo's first DCD lung transplantation was performed a year ago in a 59-year-old Illinois man who had alpha-1antitrypsin deficiency — an inherited condition associated with emphysema. Emphysema is a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which includes a group of conditions that block airflow and make breathing difficult. He also was a former tobacco user.

Almost one year after his transplant, the recipient says he is doing well, walking about three or four miles a day. "I would not have made it through 2009 without the transplant, and today I am feeling better than I have in years and am able to be with my family," he says. "I feel very lucky and am grateful to my donor and his family."

Before his transplant, the patient's forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1) — a measure of lung function and the ability to breathe — was at 20 percent of normal, but at his appointment in January 2010, his FEV1 was at 103 percent, beyond normal, according to Dr. Cassivi. "He has made the absolute most of this gift," Dr. Cassivi says. "He's no longer confined to just sitting around. He is working his lungs and getting back to enjoying his life and the ability to breathe normally."

Transplantation made possible by DCD donors — individuals who are declared dead according to criteria recommended in the Uniform Declaration of Death Act in the early 1980s — expands the number of potential organs available to patients who desperately need organ transplants to live, Dr. Cassivi says. "As with our first patient in this report, we see this form of transplantation as a further needed opportunity to turn the inevitable tragedy for the donor and his or her loved ones into hope and life for transplant recipients," he says.

A peer-reviewed journal, Mayo Clinic Proceedings publishes original articles and reviews dealing with clinical and laboratory medicine, clinical research, basic science research and clinical epidemiology. Mayo Clinic Proceedings is published monthly by Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research as part of its commitment to the medical education of physicians. The journal has been published for more than 80 years and has a circulation of 130,000 nationally and internationally. Articles are available online at http://www.mayoclinicproceedings.com.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Register to be an organ and tissue donor & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network. NEW for Ontario: recycleMe.org - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at ShareYourLife.org or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register

In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Faith and the Issue of Blood Transfusion

Woman struggles with her faith's ban on blood transfusion and her need for a lung transplant

From Salman Hameed of Irtiqa: in Science + Religion Today

The issue of faith and medical treatments is a complicated one. It is clearly wrong when parents refuse to provide medical treatment to their children because of their faith. However, it gets complicated with adults who refuse treatment. After all, it is their life and they have the ultimate say about their own treatment.

The Washington Post today has an article about a 36-year-old Peruvian immigrant mother, Maribel Perez, who has struggled balancing her faith as a Jehovah’s Witness and the blood transfusion she needs for her lung transplant.

There are several interesting bits in here:

a) Maribel’s view that she may be trading a few more years here on Earth for an eternal condemnation. Whether one should believe in this equation is a separate question, but if one does, like Maribel, then you can appreciate her struggle in making this decision. She also believes that God would punish her in this life for going through with the blood transfusion

b) Her husband, her mother, and many of her friends clearly want her to go through with the lung transplant. But to make their case, they also use a religious argument—that God would want her to live longer for her kids

c) The members of her Jehovah’s Witness congregation, who want her to refuse transfusion. In many ways, this is the group that is least affected by her death—and only gains from her steadfast refusal of transfusion

d) On top of all this, there is also the issue of the expenses of post-transplant care, and here, a tightly knit religious community would have been of help, but unfortunately, the Jehovah’s Witnesses take the opposite route.

Good, bad—these are complicated issues. I have the point of view that faith should not play a role in medical decisions, but I appreciate the complexity offered in the article. In her ultimate decision:

Perez feared less for her eternal life than that God would punish her by taking her life if she went ahead with the transplant. “I was worried God wouldn’t let me live after the operation,” she said. Three days later, Perez told Lorenzo she’d changed her mind.
“I began to think how much I loved my children, these marvelous gifts from God,” she explained, gulping for air as tears rolled down her face. “God loves. He does not demand that we follow rules. The rules are ours.” Her heart told her that God wanted her to choose life.
Perez no longer talks to Jehovah’s Witnesses, nor they to her. It is hard, she said. They are like her family. But the religion “disfellowships,” or excommunicates, members who disobey its teachings. Contacted by a reporter and asked about Perez, a member of her congregation said, “She is not a Jehovah’s Witness,” and hung up.

Ouch. Jehovah’s Witnesses do not come out looking good from this story. But these issues are not limited to Jehovah’s Witnesses. For example, I knew someone (a Muslim) who refused to have any medicine or treatment that had any derivatives from alcohol. I have also posted before about the Followers of Christ Church who refuse to have any medical care for themselves and for their kids, and about the case of the rise of polio in many areas where the polio vaccine is considered an “infidel vaccine.“

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Register to be an organ and tissue donor & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network. NEW for Ontario: recycleMe.org - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at ShareYourLife.org or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register

In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.



Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Kidney Donor Found Online

Matching Donors has a large database of registered Potential Donors. Their web site averages 1.5 million hits a month and this article is a fine example of the service they provide.

In the U.S., according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) as of today at 9:57.am there were 105,687 patients on the waiting list for an organ transplant. A whopping 83,320 of these are waiting for a kidney transplant. I've heard about patients waiting seven years or more for a kidney so Tom Wirt, the recipient who went on line and his altruistic living donor, Cindy Love, greatly improved the odds by registering with Matching Donors.

By: Ellery McCardle
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- Everyday thousands of people are waiting to get an organ transplant. While the national list is long, now there's a new way to make a perfect match. A local man found a kidney donor online.

"She called me and told me who she was and that she would like to offer me a kidney and I thought 'Wow'," says Tom Wirt, a Lewiston, MN man who will get a kidney transplant on Wednesday.

For three years, Wirt has been waiting for a new kidney. In 1992, he was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease, a condition that causes deterioration of the kidneys. In October 2008, he had to start dialysis three times a week. But Wednesday the wait will be over.

"I just finished dialysis this morning at 10 o'clock and that'll be my last dialysis," he says.

For Cindy Love, she watched her nephew go through kidney failure, but when she wasn't a match, she researched online. She came to Rochester all the way from Orlando, Florida to donate her kidney. Doctors at Mayo Clinic say there are 12,000 kidney transplants in the U.S. each year.

"If I just take that one step further and somebody needs it why not donate it to them," says Love.

So she went to matchingdonors.com, a website where donors can find matches and she found Wirt.

"When I got accepted and got the phone call I was like 'Yes I've been accepted,'" says Love.

Mayo Doctor, Mikel Prieto says kidney transplants are in higher demand today than ever.

"It's primarily increasing because we tend to get more kidney disease when we get older and because there's more people," says Dr. Prieto, Surgical Director of the Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program.

He says there are 400 people on the Mayo Clinic waiting list just for kidney transplants.

But for Tom, he won't be on a list anymore.

"She could have chose anybody in the world that needed a kidney and she chose me," he says.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Register to be an organ and tissue donor & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network. NEW for Ontario: recycleMe.org - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at ShareYourLife.org or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register

In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Donating loved one's organs offers comfort to grieving family

It's often difficult or nearly impossible to learn where an organ recipient's gift of life came from or to connect with the donor family, but the following story about a donor family from Minnesota meeting the Michigan man who received their daughter's lungs is an inspiration to us all.

Bob Koehs meets donor family

Terri Nielson and Janaya Kragenbring placed a hand on Bob Koehs’ chest. Inside, their daughter’s and sister’s lungs work to give Koehs life.

Gift of life comforts in wake of tragedy
by Jim Boyle
Editor, Star News

The families Bob Koehs and the late Chelsea Nielson of Elk River share a strong and rare bond, one that was made possible by tragedy but has already shown tremendous healing powers.

The 21-year-old Nielson was taken from her family after a Sept. 19 motorcycle crash caused by a blown tire. Nielson, a passeneger on the motorcycle, and her boyfriend, Jeremy Hoffenkamp, were both airlifted in critical condition.

Hoffenkamp survived. Nielson did not.

She had made it clear her wish was to have her organs donated. Her lungs went to Koehs, a Marquette, Mich. man suffering from pulmonary fibrosis.

Her end was his new beginning.

Koehs, a teacher by trade who has a gift for writing poetry, has been moved to write poetry about his gift of life.

Breathing in and out of someone else’s lungs made him want to know more about this person.

here’s no guarantee that families will connect in situations such as this, but Koehs chose to make an effort. He included some poetry in an attempt to capture his gratefulness.

The words were soothing and begged a response. One was penned. He wrote back and the two families made and carried out plans to meet last month.

“Learning about the kind of person she was, that was very cool,” Koehs told the Star News. “Meeting the family made it all the more real.”

Koehs feels an overwhelming gratitude, an indebtedness that might have felt like a weight if he had not gotten to know about this woman who he has come to discover shares many similarities with him.

“It just feels like of all the possible donors I could have had, Chels picked me,” he said. “The similarities are so out there.”

Among the similarities was a passion for dancing, something that Koehs has resumed now that he has healthy lungs providing him enough air.

Nielson took dance lessons from a very young age, and her dancing skills went on to far exceed what any one teacher may have taught her.

She was also daring, and willing to try just about anything, according to her parents, Byron and Terri Nielson.

“Those lungs have jumped off a cliff in Alaska to paraglide, fished for salmon and halibut, gone scuba diving in Hawaii, and swum with dolphins in Florida,” they wrote in response to Koehs’ initial letter.

Byron, an over-the-road truck driver, took Chelsea and her sister, Janaya, and their mother on summer and Christmas vacations across the country. By the time of her death, she had been to all 50 states as well as Mexico and to Greece, Italy and France through the People to People program.

“She never let any obstacle get in her way,” her parents wrote.

This past year she got her first 25 straight in her summer trapshooting league.

The Nielsons described their 21-year-old daughter as having gorgeous red hair, blue eyes and a breathtaking smile. They say she was beautiful inside and out.

She was attending St. Catherine’s University for respiratory therapy.

“She would have loved helping you recover with each breath making you stronger,” they wrote.

Only 22 months separated Chelsea and Janaya. They were best of friends, and when Janaya got married Chelsea was her maid of honor.

Both Chelsea and Koehs were born in January, although the elder Koehs was born quite a few years earlier. He turned 63 on Jan. 19. Chelsea would have turned 22 on Jan. 29.

Both have been adventurous and shared a love of traveling.

“I too have traveled to all 50 states, and have played golf in all but six,” Koehs said. “I have kayacked in a glacier lake in Alaska where I watched a glacier calve, and swam with manatees near Sanibel Island in Florida. I am surprised that we did not cross paths.”

Koehs spent much of his childhood overseas. He attended kindergarten and first grade in Okinawa, Japan, and because his father was in the Army, he went to school in Germany as well.

His mother died when he was 12 years old. He is the oldest of five children. His father remarried twice and had a daughter with both his second and third wives.

“All of my brothers and sisters are still alive,” he wrote.

Koehs retired from the Navy after being medically discharged in 1969. He served on two ships, the USS Boxer and the USS Fulton. He made a cruise to Vietnam in 1966 on the Boxer and traveled to several other countries, including France, Italy and Greece.

He and his wife, Sue, who have been married more than a year, enjoyed a Caribbean cruise on their honeymoon. They spent their first anniversary in Marquette on Nov. 8, 2009, while he was recovering in Rochester, Minn. from the organ transplant.

“Hopefully we will celebrate our second anniversary somewhere other than the Mayo Clinic,” he wrote.

It was on a return trip to the Mayo Clinic for a post-operative check-up that Koehs got to meet the Nielson family. That was a big deal for Koehs.

“As a transplant recipient it was a matter of completing the cycle,” he said. “I wanted get to know the woman who paid the ultimate price to allow me to renew my own life.”

The best way to do that was to meet the family.

“I wanted to thank them for going through with Chels’ wishes,” he said. And put living faces with the living part of me that I have from her.”

Before parting ways again, they snapped many pictures and some placed their hands on Koehs’ chest. They felt his chest rise and fall with each breath.

It was therapeutic.

Koehs since returned to work, where he teaches children ages 12–17 who are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol. He plans to share his story and promote organ donation.

“I’m sure Chelsea will lend her spirit to my work,” he said.


“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Register to be an organ and tissue donor & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network. NEW for Ontario: recycleMe.org - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at ShareYourLife.org or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register

In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.


Monday, February 15, 2010

This holiday register to be a donor & talk to your family

Today is President's Day in the U.S. and Family Day in Ontario, Canada. As families gather to celebrate these occasions it's a good time to remind everyone to register to be an organ and tissue donor and talk to your family about your wishes. Online links are at the bottom of this post to make it easy to register.

The need for donation is critical as you can see by the following statistics:

In the U.S., the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) says there are 105,686 people waiting for a life-saving organ transplant.

  • on the waiting list: 105,686 as of today 6:47am -

  • Transplants January - November 2009 26,082 as of 02/05/2010

  • Donors January - November 2009 13,327 as of 02/05/2010
There are currently 1639 on the waiting list in Ontario according to
Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN) which notes that in 2009, 953 men, women and children received a second chance through living and deceased organ donation. Nearly 3,000 others have an improved quality of life as a result of tissue transplantation. However, today there are still 1,639 people waiting for a life saving transplant. In 2009, 84 people died while on the waiting list for the second chance at life they never got.

There were 1,299 tissue donors in 2009 in Ontario. Tissue donors provided bone grafts, heart valves, and skin for life-enhancing transplants, as well as 1,616 eyes for transplants to restore vision.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Register to be an organ and tissue donor & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network. NEW for Ontario: recycleMe.org - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at ShareYourLife.org or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register

In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.



Sunday, February 14, 2010

National Donor Day - Valentine's Day


OrganDonor.Gov reminds us that Valentine's Day, February 14, is the 10th National Donor Day -- a day to give the gift of life and I remind everyone to register to be an organ donor, sign you donor card and speak to your family about your wishes. It could be the most important gift you will ever give, both a gift of life and a gift of love.

I will be forever grateful to my donor and donor family for giving me the gift of life and I honor them today by reminding them that donating their loved one's lung to save my life was the ultimate expression of caring and unconditional love.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Register to be an organ and tissue donor & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network. NEW for Ontario: recycleMe.org - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at ShareYourLife.org or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register

In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Let the Olympic Games Begin - Feb 12

Vancouver 2010 logo

Schedule of events


Support Team Canada

Feb 12 was the final leg of the Olympic Torch as it made its way to the opening ceremony and the official lighting of the Olympic Flame. The torch made it's way completely across Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific and thousands of people were chosen to be torch bearers. Some of my favorites were Kurt Penner of London, Ontario, a double-lung transplant survivor of almost 8 years and Shania Twain who carried the torch in her home town of Timmins, Ontario. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California carried the torch today along with other celebrities. He seemed to be the most popular torch bearer of the day, with huge crowds making it difficult for him to proceed while shouting "Arnold"..."Arnold".

Kurt Penner carriers Olympic TorchKurt Penner carries the torch through the streets of Woodstock, Ontario. Kurt received a double-lung transplant in 2002 and has been active in the transplant games and an advocate for organ donation awareness ever since.
Shania Twain lights Olympic Torch

Music star Shania Twain lights the Olympic Torch in her home town of Timmins, Ontario

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Lung Rx and ImmuneWorks Announce Collaboration in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis and Primary Graft Dysfunction

Ten years ago when I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) there was no cure for the disease other than a lung transplant. Existing therapeutic treatments such as prednisone and clinical trials with experimental drugs had no effect on slowing progression of the scarring of lung tissue that eventually leads to respiratory failure and inevitable death if a transplant is not an option or available. So this new research is very welcome and offers a glimmer of hope for the future.

SILVER SPRING, Md., and INDIANAPOLIS, Feb. 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Lung Rx, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of United Therapeutics Corporation (Nasdaq: UTHR), announced today that it has entered into a Development Agreement with ImmuneWorks, Inc. to pursue development of ImmuneWorks' lead compound, IW001, a purified bovine Type V Collagen oral solution for the treatment of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) and Primary Graft Dysfunction (PGD) in patients receiving lung transplant. The parties expect to commence human clinical testing in 2010. In November 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted orphan drug exclusivity to IW001.

"We are delighted to form this alliance with ImmuneWorks in these areas of high unmet medical need," said Lung Rx President and CEO Martine Rothblatt, Ph.D. "This development program further solidifies our commitment to clinical research in diseases with few, if any, approved therapeutic options."

In addition to funding the development program, Lung Rx has been granted an option to acquire all of the issued and outstanding capital stock of ImmuneWorks. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

"We are extremely pleased to align with Lung Rx and United Therapeutics, companies that share our commitment to bringing novel treatments to patients suffering from incurable lung diseases such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and those undergoing lung transplantation," said Wade A. Lange, President & CEO of ImmuneWorks. "We strongly believe that the coupling of United Therapeutics' track record of innovation and our novel therapeutic approach is a powerful combination to bring potentially life-saving treatments to patients."

About IPF

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis is a progressive, usually fatal disease that afflicts in excess of 100,000 persons in the United States alone. According to the Coalition of Pulmonary Fibrosis, approximately 48,000 new patients are diagnosed with this devastating disease annually with 40,000 deaths from the disease each year -- about the same number of deaths as from breast cancer. Within five years of diagnosis, progression of IPF leads to death in approximately 70% of patients. There are currently no FDA-approved options for patients suffering from this life-threatening condition.

About PGD

Primary Graft Dysfunction is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in patients following lung transplant surgery. This complication that may affect up to 10%-25% of lung transplant patients. PGD is also a significant risk factor for development of bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome, a chronic, scarring process that affects the small airways of the lungs and is a leading cause of death in lung transplant patients.

About Lung Rx and United Therapeutics

Lung Rx LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of United Therapeutics Corporation, is a biotechnology company focused on unmet medical needs in pulmonary medicine and pulmonary delivery of innovative therapeutic products. United Therapeutics Corporation is a biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialization of unique products to address the unmet medical needs of patients with chronic and life-threatening conditions. [uthr-g]

About ImmuneWorks

Founded in 2006, ImmuneWorks, Inc. is a biotechnology company committed to developing safe and effective immune tolerance treatments for patients with serious autoimmune diseases. ImmuneWorks' work on antigen-specific autoimmunity has supported several publications and forms the basis for development of its lead program, IW001.

SOURCE United Therapeutics Corporation

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Register to be an organ and tissue donor & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network. NEW for Ontario: recycleMe.org - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at ShareYourLife.org or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register

In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Australian research paves the way for pig lung transplants

Using pig lungs for human lung transplant within the next ten years? WOW! This is amazing research and would certainly go a long way to easing the donor lung shortage. I guess when you think of it humans and pigs share much of the same DNA but many potential recipients would have questions about receiving such a transplant. What about those stories of transplant memories or cellular transference where organ recipients claim to have inherited characteristics of the donor?

Pig lungs for human transplant

Pigs stand in their pen at a farm. Australian medical researchers say they have made advances that could see pig lungs transplanted into humans within a decade. Photograph by: Viktor Drachev, AFP

Vancouver Sun

MELBOURNE – Australian medical researchers said they have made advances that could see pig lungs transplanted into humans within a decade.

Pig organs have previously been unsuitable for use in life-saving operations because they stop functioning once in contact with human blood.

But researchers at The Alfred hospital in Melbourne have been able to get around that problem after a separate team at St Vincent's Hospital used genetic modifications to remove one of the key rejection barriers.

"Respiratory physicians from The Alfred have shown that pig lungs can be perfused with human blood and successfully oxygenate the blood for an extended period of time," a spokeswoman for the hospital said.

"This has not been achieved before."

The research means that transplanting pig lungs into people with life-threatening illnesses may be possible in the future.

"The blood went into the lungs without oxygen and came out with oxygen, which is the exact function of the lungs," researcher Dr. Glenn Westall told Melbourne's Herald-Sun newspaper.

"This is a significant advance compared to the experiments that have been performed over the past 20 years."

The Alfred hospital said the advances show that, based on the models tested, transplantation could be successful.

"That noted, clinical trials are probably still five to 10 years away and there is still a significant amount of work to be done," the hospital spokeswoman said.

© Copyright (c) AFP

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Register to be an organ and tissue donor & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network. NEW for Ontario: recycleMe.org - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at ShareYourLife.org or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register

In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

I am 38. My heart is only33, but my lungs are aged 52. Why?

This article further supports the notion that birth age and biological age can be quite different if people look after themselves. I can personally attest to this because after my assessment for a lung transplant the doctors told me that my physical age was 20 years younger than my chronological age. I had been a marathon runner, a bicycle racer and a cross-country skier for many years so athleticism really paid off for me. Eight years post transplant I'm still going strong and feel as young as ever.

By Anastasia Stephens MailOnline Daily Mail, UK

The latest UK Transplant campaign highlights that age is no barrier when it comes to organ donation, as chronological age has little to do with organ function.

'Our birth age and biological age can be quite different, with people remaining much younger than their birth age if they look after themselves,' says Dr Graham Lipkin, an organ-transplant specialist.

'We recently had a woman in her 80s who was biologically exceptionally young and she donated a kidney to her son. Equally, you can develop age-related disease far younger than you otherwise would if you smoke, drink alcohol and eat unhealthy food,' says Dr Lipkin, who works at BMI The Priory Hospital in Birmingham.

I put this theory to the test with a series of medical screenings to determine the biological age of my insides. At 38, I have what I consider a healthy lifestyle. I drink a few glasses of wine a week and counter my fondness for salty popcorn and cakes with plenty of fruit and veg, wholefoods and some meat. Plus I exercise at least three times a week combining yoga with running and swimming.

But until my mid-20s I smoked at least 20 a day. What bearing will that have on my lungs?

EYESIGHT: Biological age 33
THE TEST: During routine eyesight checks at an optician, a photograph can be taken of the back of the eye, or retina. This shows the optic nerve, the blood supply to the eyes and the macula, a pigmented area that can degenerate in old age. People gradually lose the ability to focus close-up which is why those over 45 may need to wear reading glasses. An average 20-year-old can focus on objects held three inches from their eyes. A 45-year-old can focus only on those eight inches away. Eye tests at most High Street opticians cost £20.

Carolyn Zweig, Boots optometrist, says: 'Anastasia's macular and retina appeared a healthy pinky orange and her intraocular pressure, which is raised in those with glaucoma, was in the normal range. While 20:20 vision is considered to be ideal vision, Anastasia has 20:15 vision which is even better and means her vision is sharper than the average. Whereas most people her age can only focus at six inches, Anastasia's eyes were able to focus at five, the average for a 33-year-old.'

HEARING: Biological age 38
THE TEST: The standard is an audiometric test in which the patient sits in a soundproof booth and is asked to identify different sound frequencies and volumes in each ear through a headset. With age, cells in the inner ear that enable us to hear high-pitched sounds die. The result is hearing loss. This usually begins around the age of 55, but excessive exposure to loud noises for long periods can significantly speed up the process.

To find out about free hearing assessments, see www.rnid.org.uk.

RNID audiologist Crystal Rolfe says: 'An individual with healthy hearing should easily be able to hear sounds of 20 decibels - the equivalent to the noise of rustling leaves - and above, in both ears.
'Anastasia was worried she may have had some hearing loss due to exposure to loud noise in nightclubs in her early 20s.

'In fact, her hearing was in the normal, healthy range. I would say the biological age of her ears matches her age in years.'

LIVER: Biological age 35
THE TEST: A blood test can assess levels of chemicals in the blood produced by the liver. Healthy levels of these indicate good liver function , whereas low levels or overproduction may indicate something is wrong.

Unlike organs such as the lungs, the tissue of the liver can regenerate, meaning it can hold up well with age, even if you drink alcohol. It is when you really abuse it with excessive and long-term drinking that fibrosis and inflammation set in.

Viral infections can have the same effect. If you consider this damage to be 'ageing', you could say these factors advance biological age.

A new specialist test called a fibroscan uses ultrasound waves to assess liver fibrosis, or the build-up of tough, hardened scar tissue within the organ that may indicate disease.

A fibroscan at The London Clinic Liver Centre (www.thelondon clinic.co.uk) costs £230. Blood tests for basic liver function are available through your GP.

Rajiv Jalan, professor of hepatology at University College London, says: 'When the liver is damaged, it heals by scarring and it stiffens and that is what we measure in the fibroscan. If the scarring is not too advanced, the liver can regenerate and recover. But after a certain stage, that damage is permanent.

'The fibroscan shows the levels of fibrous tissue in Anastasia's liver are low. The blood test confirmed her liver cells are healthy. Anastasia's liver is functioning as well as we'd expect for a woman of 35.'

HEART: Biological age 33
THE TESTS: A heart health check may consist of a blood test and an ultrasound assessment of arteries in the neck. The blood test checks for cholesterol levels, blood sugar and inflammation, while the ultrasound will look for calcified deposits, a contributing factor in high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

With age, factors such as inflammation, high blood sugar and higher levels of bad LDL-cholesterol will raise your risk of cardiovascular disease.

On the other hand, lower levels of bad cholesterol and blood sugar when you are younger will help keep your heart and arteries young as they are less likely to fur up. If you have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as diabetes or being overweight, you can request an assessment at your local GP surgery.

A Heart Health Check at London Medical Chambers (www.londonmedicalchambers.com) costs £100.

Consultant cardiologist Dr Ferruccio de Lorenzo says: 'By looking at her blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as her age and weight and comparing them against statistics, Anastasia has a one per cent risk of developing cardiovascular disease in the next ten years.

'This is what I would expect for someone of her age unless they were overweight or had diabetes or high blood pressure.

'Her levels of HDL-cholesterol are above average, at 1.7, compared to 1.4 which is the usual reading for a woman of her age. This is good because HDL-cholesterol is the type of cholesterol that actively prevents arteries from furring up.'

LUNGS: Biological age 52
THE TEST: A spirometry test - which measures lung capacity - can assess lung age, or the level of lung function, taking into account weight and height. The test involves inhaling and exhaling completely through a tube into a meter. It can be requested at your GP surgery. To find out more, visit www.lunguk.org.

Professor Stephen Spiro, vice-chairman of the British Lung Foundation, says: 'The spirometer measures how much air your lungs can expel in the first second. This tells us how elastic and springy the lungs are - something you lose with age. Smoking dramatically speeds up this process. Once you lose lung elasticity, you cannot get it back. She took the test several times and her lung age averaged at around 52. Anastasia cannot reduce this, but she can look after her lungs by keeping fit and not smoking.'

KIDNEYS: Biological age 38
THE TEST: Kidney function can be assessed with a standard blood test that measures the glomerular filtration rate (GFR). That is the rate that the kidneys filter waste products from the blood. Smoking, diabetes and high blood pressure can all damage the kidneys, so speed up their ageing process. The sooner kidney dysfunction is diagnosed and treated, the greater the odds of preserving whatever function is left, preventing the need for medical treatment.

Blood tests to assess kidney function are available through your GP.

London GP Dr Jane Fleming says: 'Anastasia's GFR gave a reading of over 90ml per minute which indicates her kidneys are healthy and functioning well. All healthy kidneys will filter blood at a rate of more than 90ml per minute.

'Anything under this is a sign of kidney disease - a filtration rate of under 60ml per minute indicates your kidney disease is moderate or severe. Anastasia does not have kidney disease in her family, is now a non-smoker, does not have diabetes and her blood pressure is normal so her kidneys reflect those of a healthy person of her age.'

OVARIES: Biological age 39
THE TEST: With age, the number of eggs a woman has decline in quantity and quality until menopause, when fertility ceases. The quality of eggs also declines as the genetic material in them may become damaged. Ovary size can also diminish with age, while the risk of other problems, such as fibroids, endometriosis and ovarian cysts, increases.

A 3D scan can reveal the health of the uterus and ovaries as well as the blood supplying them, while blood tests can measure levels of AMH, a hormone that indicates ovarian reserve, or how many eggs a woman has left. If you are having problems conceiving, speak to your GP about testing.

A Fertility MOT at the Centre for Reproduction & Advanced Technology (www.createhealth.org) costs £200.


Consultant gynaecologist Geeta Nargun, says: 'All women are born with one to two million eggs, but most of these will waste away, and by puberty women have about 300,000 left. By the time a woman reaches her late 30s, she may have just a few thousand left.

'Anastasia has a healthy-looking uterus with a good blood supply. In some women, ovaries can become smaller with age, but Anastasia's ovaries are an inch which is a good size. However, the AMH blood test shows that her number of eggs is lower than I would expect for her age.

'Her fertility clock is more like that of a woman of 39, which means she has a year less of fertile life. Smoking, stress and alcohol all significantly speed up your fertility clock, but particularly smoking.'

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“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Register to be an organ and tissue donor & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network. NEW for Ontario: recycleMe.org - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at ShareYourLife.org or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register

In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Science Of Regenerating Tissues And Organs Advancing

We are reading more and more stories about advances in regenerative medicine that are gradually finding ways to replace damaged tissues and organs.

I recently attended a presentation by Dr. Shaf Keshavjee on how he and his team of scientists at the McEwan Centre for Regenerative Medicine used gene therapy to repair injured human donor lungs with a technique that has the potential to make use of donor lungs that are currently discarded. This is a huge advance that could double the number of donor lungs available for transplant and get patients off waiting lists for their life-saving transplant. For more about this click here.

From Before it's news

By Gabrielle Kirk | Health.mil
It may sound like science fiction to many, but the science of regenerating tissues and organs is a reality.

Regenerative medicine is happening now and improving the lives of service members and veterans, said Army Col. (Dr.) Robert Vandre of the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine (AFIRM).

“Regenerative medicine will change the way we practice medicine in the future,” Vandre said during a session at the 2010 Military Health System Conference Jan 27.

While researchers cannot yet regenerate limbs, the biomaterials engineered so far can help injured service members heal and recover by forming new bone, skin, nerves, tendons, muscles, and blood vessels to replace damaged tissues and organs.

Vandre explained that although organ transplants have been occurring for more than 50 years, people can die waiting for an organ match and there is always the possibility of organ rejection after a transplant.

“Regenerative medicine is the way to solve that problem,” said Vandre. Along with new techniques that reduce rejection and a patient’s dependence on anti-rejection drugs, scientists can now create or repair organs using a patient’s cells and a biodegradable material called scaffolds that create the organ’s shape.

Another area where regenerative medicine could make a difference is in preventing limb amputation. If muscle or nerves are destroyed, but a limb is still intact, many patients will first choose surgeries and therapies and then often decide to amputate years after the injury because of pain or limitations, said Vandre. “If you can grow the muscle back, then you wouldn’t have to amputate.”

With more than $250 million in funding for the next five years, AFIRM is made up of two civilian research consortia working with the U.S. Army Institute for Surgical Research in Fort Sam Houston, Texas. One consortium is led by Rutgers University and the Cleveland Clinic and the other is led by Wake Forest University and the University of Pittsburgh.

In 2009 a hand transplant for a Marine that took place at the University of Pittsburgh utilized a new technique of implanting some of the donor’s bone marrow cells into the recipient to decrease the likelihood of rejection. Speaking to the success of the procedure, Vandre said, “Now he is an apprentice electrician, and he could never be an electrician with one hand.”

AFIRM’s top areas of emphasis are facial reconstruction, scar-free healing, salvage, and reconstruction of limbs and digits, burn repair, and muscle repair.

Vandre encouraged military doctors in the audience to consider their patients for clinical trials in 2010, which include hand transplants, face transplants, burn treatments, scar revision, and skin grafts. Information on how to apply for any of these clinical trials is available at http://www.afirm.mil.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Register to be an organ and tissue donor & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network. NEW for Ontario: recycleMe.org - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at ShareYourLife.org or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register

In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.