The 13th biennial Congress of the International Xenotransplantation Association was held in Melbourne, Australia from November 15-19. It encompassed the latest scientific advances in this cutting edge field of medical science. The purpose being to address the growing human organ donor shortage by utilizing organs from porcine donors (commonly known as xenotransplantation).
The meeting attracted great enthusiasm from the international transplant community as several major breakthroughs were reported. The results presented strongly suggested that xenotransplantation works, is safe, and will have clinical applications in the very near future.
Significant highlights included survival of cardiac xenografts for almost three years, kidney xenografts for almost one year, and pancreatic islet cell xenografts for almost three years in preclinical studies from institutions around the world. New technology to improve the safety of animal donors was also presented.
This research has brought xenotransplantation considerably closer to the clinic and provides a new level of optimism for tens of thousands of patients waiting for organ or cell transplantation.