The 2016 American Transplant Congress was held June 11-15 in Boston and attracted nearly 4,000 attendees—a diverse mix of physicians, surgeons, scientists, nurses, organ procurement personnel, advanced transplant providers, pharmacists, administrators, and allied health professionals.
"In addition to new research on important topics such as organ allocation and utilization, optimal use of immunosuppression, and medical management of transplant recipients, cutting-edge research was presented focusing on the use of bioinformatics and big data to better define transplant risk, and on interventions designed to minimize or eliminate immunosuppression,” said Randall S. Sung, MD, Congress Chair.
The five-day event featured nearly 1,800 abstracts, more than 575 concurrent oral presentations, and more than 1,200 poster presentations, all delivered in a way that encouraged the exchange of new clinical and scientific information and supported an interchange of opinions regarding care management and socioeconomic, ethical, and regulatory issues relevant to organ and tissue transplantation.
“Basic science advances at the ATC 2016 meeting continue to provide new insights into T cell, B cell and innate immune biology relevant to transplantation,” said Peter Heeger, MD, Congress Chair. “What I continue to find exciting is the recurrent theme that the fundamental observations identify new approaches for therapy that could improve transplant outcomes. Results of translational studies reported at the ATC highlight the significant progress in biomarker research and strongly indicate that several reliable biomarkers of acute and or chronic allograft injury will become available for use by the transplant clinicians within the next several years.”
“There was a lot of excitement at this year’s Congress,” added Sung. “Several new plans were introduced by the ASTS and the AST, in addition to the announcement regarding UnitedHealthcare’s new initiative.”
The announcement was made by Optum’s chief medical officer, Jon Friedman, MD. Optum, which is the health services company that manages transplant services for UnitedHealthcare, announced that travel expenses for kidney transplant donors will soon be covered, addressing one of the major barriers to living organ donation.
Building upon the excitement, representatives from both the ASTS and the AST attended the White House Organ Summit, which was held on Monday, June 13, and live streamed during the Congress in Boston. Each society announced new initiatives in support of the Obama Administration’s efforts to improve outcomes for living donors and transplant recipients. More details about the summit can be found within the White House online Briefing Room.
If you attended this year’s ATC, information about CME credits is here; if you were not able to attend, ATC OnDemand is available to ASTS members for $299 and includes streaming sessions, speaker handouts, and more.
ASTS Pioneer Award
The ASTS Pioneer award is the most distinguished award bestowed upon an individual by the ASTS for a significant contribution to the field of transplantation. On Sunday, June 12, ASTS President Charles M. Miller, MD, presented the award to Oscar Salvatierra, Jr., MD, Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics, Emeritus at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Click here to read about Dr. Savatierra’s many accomplishments.
ASTS Research Grants
The ASTS Research Grants were presented on Tuesday, June 14. For a full list of grant recipients and their research projects, click here.
Dr. Miller also gave his Presidential Address, “The Magical Dualities of Transplantation: Failure and Success, Individualism and Teamwork,” on Tuesday, June 14. He used his personal experiences to illustrate some of the challenges of transplantation and ways to overcome them. When he finished with his emotional and inspiring talk, the audience gave him a standing ovation.
Next year’s ATC will be held April 29-May 3 at McCormick Place in Chicago. Abstracts are being accepted until December 2, and registration is expected to open in January 2017. To learn more, visit www.atcmeeting.org.