AST Presents 2021 Innovation Award

Thursday, February 25, 2021

On February 25, 2021, the American Society of Transplantation proudly presented the AST Innovation Award to the OPTN/UNOS Disease Transmission Advisory Committee (DTAC). This award was accepted on behalf of DTAC by Dr. Jay Fishman, Dr. Michael Ison, and Dr. Ricardo La Hoz, at the virtual Cutting Edge of Transplantation (CEoT) meeting.

DTAC started as an advisory group to the UNOS Board to consider issues related to organ donor-derived infections and malignancies in 2004 and was made into a permanent UNOS committee in 2007.

Before the inception of DTAC, there was no standardized or required reporting system for donor-derived diseases in transplantation in the United States. DTAC was a significant and novel program that established the standard for other biovigilance systems worldwide through standardized reporting and investigation of transmission events. Since its inception, DTAC has made many significant advances in our knowledge of transmission events, communication gaps, and mitigation strategies. It has paved the way for policy and infrastructure changes within OPTN/UNOS and the transplant community, which enhanced recipient safety, improved outcomes, and improved organ utilization. 

The system provided a robust framework for not only recognizing the presence of donor-derived infections, malignancies, and allergies, but for creating extensive systems to improve the care of transplant recipients. DTAC has developed an effective, efficient, and impactful way to report and monitor donor-derived events. 

While by necessity DTAC has included many transplant infectious disease experts, it also has retained broad transplant expertise, including representatives from organ procurement organizations, pathology, surgery, pulmonology, hepatology, and transplant coordinators, to ensure that the policies considered the impact on all of transplantation while focusing on the enhancement of patient safety. This broad-based committee, along with close and productive collaboration with the CDC has led to numerous contributions to the field of organ transplantation.

The AST Innovation Award seeks to recognize, reward, and drive innovative and novel strategies to advance the field of transplantation.