2017 American Transplant Congress Highlights

The 2017 American Transplant Congress, held April 29-May 3 in Chicago, attracted nearly 5,000 attendees—surgeons, physicians, scientists, nurses, organ procurement personnel, advanced transplant providers, pharmacists, administrators, and allied health professionals—and exhibitors.

“This year’s American Transplant Congress truly met its goal of creating a meeting where the attendees were actively involved in the content itself,” said David Mercer, MD, PhD, ASTS Chair of the Executive Planning Committee. “The enhanced interactivity created an environment conducive to questioning and collaboration, giving a large, comprehensive conference the feelings of a small, intimate meeting. The feedback we received on these changes was overwhelmingly positive!”

The five-day event featured nearly 1,800 abstracts, 565 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.

“The ATC meeting is unique, and unlike other meetings, it’s highly multi-disciplinary,” said Josh Levitsky, MD, AST Chair of the Executive Planning Committee. “Rather than focusing on just one specialty, the meeting focuses on various areas of medicine and is not limited to surgery. At the American Transplant Congress, there’s something for everyone.”

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.

Tribute to Dr. Thomas Starzl

One of the highlights this year was a moving tribute to ASTS’ founding president, Thomas E. Starzl, MD, PhD, on Saturday evening. Several speakers told stories of Dr. Starzl’s work at their institutions and offered personal recollections.

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, April 30, ASTS President Timothy L. Pruett, MD, presented the award to Richard L. Simmons, MD, Distinguished Service Professor of Surgery and Vice Chair for Surgical Research at the University of Pittsburgh. Click here to read about Dr. Simmons’ accomplishments. The award presentation begins at 6:39 in the video below, after the AJT awards.

AJT Awards

This year, new awards were presented to recognize and honor meritorious articles published in the American Journal of Transplantation (AJT) in the prior calendar year and bring greater attention to the excellence of top articles published in AJT. ​The awards will be presented annually to members of AST and ASTS. ​

Dr. Allan Kirk, Editor-in-Chief of the AJT, presented Outstanding Article Awards to the authors of articles in the categories of Basic Science, Translational, and Clinical Research. The recipients were:

  • Basic Science Award: Mohamed B. Ezzelarab, MD​, of the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute​, University of Pittsburgh​, for “Regulatory T Cell Infusion Can Enhance Memory T Cell and Alloantibody Responses in Lymphodepleted Nonhuman Primate Heart Allograft Recipients”
  • Translational Science Award: Brian D. Modena, MD, Msc​, of The Scripps Research Institute​, for “Gene Expression in Biopsies of Acute Rejection and Interstitial Fibrosis/Tubular Atrophy Reveals Highly Shared Mechanisms that Correlate with Worse Long-Term Outcomes​”
  • Clinical Science Award: Peter J. Friend, MD​, of the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences​, University of Oxford, for “​Liver Transplantation After Ex Vivo Normothermic Machine Preservation: A Phase 1 (First-in-Man) Clinical Trial​”

ASTS Research Grants and NLDAC Awards

The ASTS Research Grants were presented on Monday, May 1, by ASTS President Timothy L. Pruett, MD. For a full list of grant recipients and their research projects, click here. Following presentation of the grants, awards for the National Living Donor Assistance Center, celebrating its 10th anniversary, were presented by Dr. Robert Merion of Arbor Research Collective and Dr. Melissa Greenwald of the Health Resources and Services Administration to honor centers and filers who have used NLDAC to assist living organ donors.

Presidential Address

Dr. Pruett also gave his Presidential Address, “Transplantation: Complex problems, simple solutions” on Monday, May 1. He discussed how the transplant community and society at large can better deal with the shortage of transplantable organs and the debates surrounding various proposed solutions. The video is below, and you can view the slides here.

See You Next Year!

The 2018 ATC will be held June 2-6 at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. Abstract submission will open in September, and the deadline will be December 1, 2017. Registration and housing will open in December. To learn more, visit www.atcmeeting.org.