News Roundup #15: Conference buzz, cyborg organs, immunological breakthroughs

Conference Fabulous!

Here at TransplantInformers we’re all about sharing ways to re-think donor outreach and education. One of the best ways to do this is attending a conference. Not only is this a congregation of people united by their common interests, which can be very motivating, but it can jolt you out of old routines. It also provides an excellent platform to disseminate your best practices to a captive audience. There are some really exciting conferences in the pipeline that we encourage your to check out if you have the means.

Abstract submissions are now open for the Ethical Legal and Psychosocial Aspects of Transplantation (ELPAT) Congress. I’ve personally worked at and attended this congress in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. It was an incredibly rewarding experience which provided a space for me to conduct fascinating fieldwork about how transplantation professionals share information and discuss key issues. The conference brings together some of the leading doctors, policymakers, and scholars. Best of all, it covers a huge range of socially relevant topics in transplantation: organ trafficking, children as donors, euthanasia, kidney paired donation, diverse populations, and much more.  Stemming from an official committee of the European Society for Organ Transplantation, this year’s conference teams up with the International Transplantation Society under the theme of “Global Issues, Local Solutions.” If you want to see the status quo of transplant ethics as well as where it’s headed, this is definitely a must-go. It runs from 20-23 April 2013.

And coming even sooner, the European Students’ Conference in Berlin focuses on the theme “Transplantation and Implantation–Trends in Organ Substitution” from 17-20 September 2012.

For those of you who analyze the macabre, standout blog Morbid Anatomy gives us a double shot of forthcoming conferences on death and art.

And in other news…

Speaking of great conferences, back in 2010 I was lucky enough to travel to Istanbul for a cancer prevention conference, thanks to local cancer organization Kökder. They were incredibly generous and having met one of their main doctors and staff I can personally say that the activity in transplantation and hemato-oncology are indeed thriving there. Thus, this article praising Turkey as a center for bone marrow transplants comes as no surprise. It seems Turkey has shown pioneering spirit in other transplant breakthroughs as well.

When cyborgs become organs ( Need we elaborate further to pique your interest?

New research about Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD) shows that genetic SNPs may provide key to donor selection and better bone marrow transplant outcomes. But this only matters if you have multiple donors to choose from. Of course, there’s still lots more donor outreach and education to be done before the donor pool is widened enough to give more patients those kinds of options.

Immunological genome project at UCSF may open new doors for grappling with transplant rejection among other things.   Plus they have a cool iPhone app and a series of articles in Nature, a major scientific journal. Keep your eyes peeled for a link to a pdf that is an quick primer on immune system that’s comprehensible for anyone.

Genzyme recalls for key kidney transplant drug via @twilsonphd

We can’t wait to read this: Tissue Culture in Science and Society: The Public Life of a Biological Technique in 20th Century Britain.  This book is for those who have a penchant for science communication issues. It also looks like an interesting account of how popular and scientific representations affect one another. That pop-sci interaction is crucial thinking about how you communicate scientific and medical content in donor outreach and education and how that can duly affect the public perceptions of research.

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