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2018 ASTS–Veloxis Vanguard Prize Recipients

ASTS gratefully acknowledges Veloxis Pharmaceuticals for their sponsorship of the 2018 Vanguard Prizes.
I. Raul Badell

I. Raul Badell, MD
Emory Transplant Center 

Synopsis: Dr. Badell’s research focuses on the mechanisms by which donor-reactive antibodies are generated following organ transplantation. Specifically, his work centers on the influence costimulatory and coinhibitory signaling have on T follicular helper cells and their role in the development of anti-HLA antibodies to facilitate the translation of therapeutics to combat donor-specific antibodies. Doing so has the potential to significantly expand access to transplantation in patients that possess alloantibodies, and to better protect grafts from antibody-mediated destruction.”


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Kristopher P. Croome, MD 
Mayo Clinic, Florida

Synopsis: Due to the inferiority of donation after cardiac death (DCD) liver transplantation (LT) results in early reports, there has been reluctance among many transplant centers to use DCD liver grafts. As with all innovations in transplant practice, there is undoubtedly a learning curve associated with the optimal utilization of liver grafts from DCD donors. Single-center experiences are valuable; however, these provide smaller sample size with underpowered associations. They are also subject to individual practice differences with donor and recipient selection bias as well as surgical technique and medical management of recipients after LT. The current study provides national data and analyses to give a broader picture of practice and provides long-term outcomes for recipients of DCD LT. From 2003-2014 we observed a significantly improved graft survival compared with previous published reports reviewing national data. Concurrently, there were changes that occurred over the same period in the selected recipients of DCD LT, such as the proportion of patients with a diagnosis of HCC, patients who were critically ill or required retransplantation. There were also changes in donor variables, such as donor age, donor warm ischemia and cold ischemia times. Notwithstanding these modifications, an era effect remained when controlling for the aforementioned changes in multivariate analysis. Improvements in graft survival were likely multifactorial, with the transplant community's behavior being influenced by the emerging data in the field with regards to optimal DCD donor and recipient selection as well as DCD donor procurement techniques. These new data revitalize the discussion on DCD organs, providing one potential solution to help alleviate the significant national shortage in liver grafts.