Newcastle’s Institute of Transplantation hosts national organ perfusion symposium

Transplant experts in Newcastle are hosting a major organ perfusion conference at the world renowned Freeman Hospital this week, attracting five international speakers, and a hundred participants from all over the UK.

Over the two day conference, delegates will hear about the latest clinical developments and research in cardiothoracic (heart and lung) and abdominal (kidney, liver and pancreas) donor organ perfusion.

They will also have the opportunity to share experiences across all fields of organ transplantation and have access to the Newcastle Surgical Training Centre ‘wet labs’ where they can observe the latest perfusion techniques.

Professor Andy Fisher is an honorary consultant respiratory physician at the Institute of Transplantation, professor of respiratory transplant medicine at Newcastle University and deputy director of the National Institute for Health Research Blood and Transplant Research Unit (NIHR BTRU) which organised the conference.

Professor Fisher said: “We are extremely proud to be hosting this year’s event in Newcastle – home to the UK’s only Institute of Transplantation where we carry out all aspects of clinical and academic transplant work under one roof.

“Our speakers will be discussing a wide range of perfusion methods currently applied across the world, as well what the future holds. It’s an extremely exciting field of medicine to be involved in and we’re pleased to be able to offer our delegates a chance to see our Institute for themselves, as well offering hands-on wet-lab training on ex-vivo organ perfusion.”

Perfusion, or ex-vivo techniques, are only available in the most specialist transplant centres around the world. The systems used help to keep donated organs as healthy as possible from the point of being removed from the donor to being transplanted into the recipient.

For example in hearts, a system is used to pump or perfuse oxygenated blood around the heart, allowing it to continue to function until the point of transplant.

Lungs are ventilated and treated with a solution that contains nutrients, proteins, and oxygen. This can, in some cases, reverse lung injury and maintain function during transport.

In livers and kidneys, the techniques used allow the liver to continue to produce bile, and the kidneys to produce urine.

Perfusion systems also allow the transplant specialists to continuously assess their functional state, helping them to decide whether or not they are healthy enough to be transplanted.

The international speakers are:

  • Professor Shaf Keshavjee, ‘Surgeon-in-Chief’ and Director of the Toronto Lung Transplant Program
  • Professor Ina Jochmanns, Assistant Professor of Surgery, UZ Leuven in Belgium
  • Professor Philipp Dutkowski, Professor of Surgery at University Hospital Zurich in Switzerland
  • Dr Sarah Longnus, Department of Cardiovascular Surgery Research in Bern, Switzerland
  • Dr Gregor Warnecke, Department of Cardiothoracic, Transplantation and Vascular Surgery in Hannover, Germany

Speakers from Newcastle include:

  • Professor John Dark, consultant cardiothoracic surgeon specialising in heart and lung transplantation at the Freeman Hospital and professor of cardiothoracic surgery at Newcastle University
  • Professor Andy Fisher, honorary consultant respiratory physician specialising in lung transplantation at Freeman Hospital and professor of respiratory transplant medicine at Newcastle University
  • Professor Derek Manas, consultant hepatobiliary surgeon specialising in liver, pancreas and islet transplantation at Freeman Hospital and honorary clinical professor of transplantation at Newcastle University
  • Professor Jim Shaw, honorary consultant diabetologist at Freeman Hospital and professor of regenerative medicine for diabetes specialising in islet transplantation at Newcastle University
  • Dr Bill Scott III, Senior Research Associate, Newcastle University (Translational researcher focused on the area of Transplant Regenerative Medicine)
    Mr Colin Wilson, consultant hepatobiliary surgeon specialising in liver, kidney and pancreas transplantation and honorary clinical senior lecturer at Newcastle University


Notes to Editors

Newcastle’s Institute of Transplantation

The Institute of Transplantation, at the Freeman Hospital, opened in 2012 and is a collaboration between specialists at the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation  Trust and Newcastle University, working together to bring scientific development from the laboratory bench to the bedside.

Organ transplant services are all under one roof in the Institute of Transplantation, including heart, lung, kidney, liver, pancreas and islet cell transplantation.
The Institute offers a world-class environment, which includes:

• Research and Development Centre with associated lecture theatre and education facilities enabling live links to transplant surgery
• High-tech screening and imaging suite to provide accurate diagnosis and continuing condition assessment
• Modern operating theatres
• Four-bedded purpose built theatre recovery area
• Dedicated adult intensive care facility with 22 beds
• Single private rooms with en-suite bathroom facilities, TV and WiFi
• Outpatient suite for both pre and post-transplant assessment

National Institute for Health Research Blood and Transplant Research Unit

The National Institute for Health Research Blood and Transplant Research Unit (NIHR BTRU) in Organ Donation and Transplantation is a strategic partnership between the University of Cambridge and Newcastle University, and their associated transplant units, and NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT). Launched on 1 October 2015, the unit is led by Professor Mike Nicholson (Director, Cambridge) and Professor Andy Fisher (Deputy Director, Newcastle) and is receiving £3.8M of funding from the NIHR over five years to support key staff, trainees and consumables.

The overarching aim of our BTRU is to develop and evaluate novel approaches and technologies that will increase the availability of suitable donor organs for transplantation, while improving graft survival. To help achieve our aim we are strengthening existing links and building new collaborations between leading scientists and clinicians to create a BTRU that attracts the best young doctors and scientists and helps them develop into the future researchers in transplantation.

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