CEOT 2015 – Not a box office hit, but a critical success

Anil Chandraker, MD, FRCP, Brigham and Women’s Hospital – AST Secretary
Ken Newell, MD, PhD, Emory University School of Medicine – AST President
Dan Salomon, MD, The Scripps Research Institute – AST Past-president


The third annual Cutting Edge of Transplantation (CEOT) meeting was held in Chandler, AZ this past February 5-7. As with the first two meetings, attendees gave extremely positive feedback with the broad consensus showing that this unique, high-caliber meeting addressed a need within the community. The meeting brought together experts from inside and outside transplantation with a spotlight on regenerative medicine, genetics, and inflammation. It has become common to hear that the pipeline of new agents for use in transplantation is drying up; however, any who attended this meeting would recognize that transplantation actually remains an area of innovation and rapid evolution.

The CEOT meeting was originally conceived to address the latest frontiers in transplantation in real time, and provide a forum for basic and clinical researchers as well as clinicians to engage with each other in a small meeting format. By focusing on translational research, the goal was to bridge the gap between research and clinical practice with an eye on the hot topics at the forefront of transplantation. The first CEOT meeting in 2013 targeted the area of alloimmunity: “B cells from Bench to Bedside.” The second CEOT meeting, held last year, focused on “Optimizing Long-Term Transplant Survival: Therapeutics, Targets, Technologies.”

By design, CEOT was structured to be a smaller meeting that allowed for greater discussion and interaction between the attendees and the speakers. Despite the critical success of CEOT in its current form, attendance has been decreasing: this year, less than 4% of the society’s membership attended. Given this trend, the board has reappraised the concept and future of an AST winter meeting.

The feedback received thus far indicates a continued need for a winter meeting that engages a larger segment of the society. In response to this feedback, the board is considering options to maintain the high quality of the meeting and its cutting-edge focus while crafting a program that more of the membership finds valuable. This will no doubt be a challenge, considering the diversity of our society: our diversity is a strength, but it also raises some complexities when trying to plan a meeting that many find valuable.

Current plans are to focus the next winter meeting on areas of controversy in clinical practice, while still weaving in scientific considerations that inform the debate. To further allow attendees to shape the debate, we may change the format to include time for workshops.

While we recognize the value of time, we hope to see more of our colleagues in Arizona next February.

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