Ex Vivo Perfusion Program Receives AST Award

Friday, February 9, 2018

On February 9, 2018, the American Society of Transplantation proudly presented the AST Innovation Award to the University Health Network (UHN) in Toronto for their work in Ex Vivo Organ Perfusion. Dr. Shaf Keshavjee, Director of the Toronto Lung Transplant Program, Surgeon in Chief, and Professor for the Division of Thoracic Surgery, accepted the award during the AST Cutting Edge of Transplantation (CEoT) meeting in Phoenix, Arizona.

The Multi-Organ Transplant team at UHN has led significant innovation in ex vivo organ perfusion in lung, liver, and kidney. From the first successful ex vivo lung perfusion (EVLP) transplant in 2008 to the first ex vivo kidney transplant in 2017, the technology developed to tackle the 85% of donor organs that are discarded despite being healthy for clinical use.

Using the procedure, donor lungs are ventilated and perfused with an acellular solution outside of the body at normothermic temperatures, enabling surgeons to fully assess the physiology of the lung for up to 22 hours. This provides time for creative repair strategies aimed at rehabilitating or regenerating injured donor organs to be implemented. Furthermore, the team continues to work on introducing recipient cells into the graft before transplantation to drive down graft rejection and clear infection.

The impact from this program is far reaching. Its worldwide adoption has accounted for a 15-35% increase in donor lung utilization in many high-volume transplant centers. Development of the technology helped accelerate similar perfusion systems for the liver and kidney. The breakthrough inspires research labs and industry partners to develop more patient-centers innovations aimed at improving outcomes.

The AST Innovation Award seeks to recognize, reward, and drive innovative and novel strategies to advance the field of transplantation. Nominations for 2019 will open in Summer 2018.