Sunday 29 August, 2021
Welcome to the ESOT Congress!
ESOT would like to warmly welcome all attendees to the inaugural 20th ESOT Congress!
ESOT Congress 2021 is the largest gathering of the transplant community in Europe, bringing clinicians, surgeons, physicians, nurses, scientists, researchers and patients to review latest developments in transplantation. Whether you are attending the Congress in-person in Milan or online, this landmark meeting is guaranteed to motivate and inspire.
We hope everyone enjoys what the coming days have to offer, including state-of-the-art science, ground-breaking developments in transplantation research and, of course, exciting debate and discussion in our dynamic field.
Opening Plenary: Managing Inequalities in Healthcare and Transplantation
The session started with a passionate introduction from Umberto Cillo, ESOT Congress 2021 co-Chair, and Luciano Potena, President-elect & Congress Scientific Programme Committee co-Chair, in which they highlighted their great honour to lead the Congress and their pride in being able to bring the very first hybrid ESOT Congress to Milan in person AND online.
Following an introduction from Congress co-Chair, Maria Rosa Costanzo, we heard from the first speaker, Hannah Valantine, who explored ‘Genetic diversities as paradigm of inequality management’. During a highly insightful talk she covered racial inequalities in post-transplant outcomes, racial differences in risk factors for poor outcomes, and a new future paradigm. Finishing her presentation, Hannah concluded with a simple message: ‘Great minds think differently’ – which she says is the key to helping address racial inequality in transplantation.
Michael Marmot then delivered a fascinating presentation on social justice and health equity. During his talk, Michael showcased how inequality, deprivation and life expectancy in England had worsened in the last 10 years, a trend which has been accelerated even further by the COVID-19 pandemic. He pinned this down to poor governance and political culture, a rise in social and economic inequality, a reduction in public spending, and the fact England was unhealthy coming into the pandemic. Concluding his talk, Michael finished with a key message to use health as a measure of societal success and to put fair distribution of health and wellbeing at the heart of Government policy.
Lastly, Umberto Cillo and Luciano Potena explored perspectives of managing inequities in transplantation. They began by looking at the profound impact of the pandemic and the inequalities around the global vaccination programme. They then demonstrated how this trend of inequity translated to transplantation. Mapping out a 6-point plan on how to address transplant inequality, they identified the need to: face inequalities in high-income countries; reach self-sufficiency in SOT; improve sustainability; improve research & development; encourage definition & achievement of value; and promote programme development in low-income countries. Their final message was clear:
‘This is a call for action
ESOT is the place
EU Train Symposium: Digital Transformation is Now
Following an introduction from Oriol Bestard, one of the project leads, the highly anticipated EU Train symposium began with Carmen Lefaucheur delivering an overview of the project. During her talk, Carmen championed the importance of digitisation and collaboration, which are both key to the success of the EU Train project and working its objective: the EU-TRACER precision and stratification system.
During the first presentation of the session, we heard from Olivier Aubert who discussed the holistic and integrated biomarkers systems. He began by highlighting that ‘prognostic research has never been so important’, before moving on to discuss the biomarkers. Olivier highlighted that it is much easier when you have one biomarker compared to multiple biomarkers, however this was central to the value of the EU Train project. After discussing the EU Train objectives, Olivier stated that the ‘big issue’ is the multicollinearity of biomarkers. However, he added that this is where machine learning methods can be deployed. Finishing off his talk, Olivier likened machine learning methods to a black box – ‘you know what goes in and the outcomes but in the middle, that’s magic!’.
Following this we heard from Alexandre Loupy who covered ‘AI based augmented physician: Disease classification automation virtual biopsy system’. He began by mapping out the history of molecular diagnostics recommendation over the last 10 years, to contextualise and underpin the importance of the EU Train project – this Alexandre, pointed out, could ‘provide another understanding of what is going on in the allograft’. He adds this is even more important given many trials have previously failed relating to molecular diagnostics. Following a discussion covering how the Group decided on the best approach to take, Alexandre highlighted and paid tribute to the platform team behind the EU Train Project, which he suitably described as ‘gigantic’. Concluding his talk, Alexandre finished with a simple and powerful message for the audience to reinforce the importance of collaboration: ‘Let’s push this together!’
The final presentation from Dina Zielinski explored ‘Precision diagnostics: World-wide integration of transcriptomics data’. This saw Dina explain what we can do with molecular diagnostics and look at the development of molecular classifiers, highlighting that this has been her main role in the project. Following this, she explained the role of data normalisation saying ‘I’ve spent more time on data normalisation’ than anything else, before discussing how the she and the Group have analysed the EU Train data. To cap off the session, Carmen Lefaucheur joined Dina to explore and analyse a series of case studies, highlighting how the value of clinicians and bioinformaticians working together and collaborating on the EU Train Project had been critical to achieving the best patient outcomes.
ESOT Live Studio
This year, we’re thrilled to bring delegates the ESOT Live Studio!
Here, in a newsroom style live format, the studio will showcase several key Congress events and provide a prominent platform where we can hear from the leading experts involved in this year’s meeting.
The latest scientific and educational content will be explored and there are twelve studio sessions to watch across the four days of the Congress, including Presidential summaries and the latest updates from our valued industry partners.
We would like to thank Astellas for sponsoring the ESOT Live Studio.
Patients at the heart of the Congress
ESOT is proud of its work with people with transplants and patient organisations throughout Europe. Our activities aim to promote health and quality of life among the transplant population and welcome the contribution and participation of all transplant professionals, patient organisation representatives, people with transplants and caregivers.
ESOT Congress 2021 offers a variety of exciting patient-centre sessions that endeavour to foster cooperation and meaningful discussion to empower people with transplants.
As well as thirteen patient perspective sessions at the Congress, there were two patient events held yesterday; the Advisory board of the ESOT-ETPO Alliance and a special online symposium ‘When every small step is a step forward. Being physically active after solid organ transplantation’. This symposium addressed key patient questions regarding physical activity following a transplantation.
Specialty Update Symposia
Throughout the morning of day 1 at ESOT Congress 2021 we were treated to specialty update symposia from all the ESOT Sections & Committees.
During EKITA’s two sessions, we learnt about how we can balance the pros and the cons of Banff 1991 vs. 2021, before moving on to study endpoints in kidney transplantation and immunological risk stratification for kidney transplantation. Pancreas transplantation and islet transplantation were in the spotlight during the sessions from EPITA, with discussions on what we should expect from future robotic pancreas transplantation and pancreas transplantation for patients with type 2 diabetes. It was great to discover more about donor coordination during EDTCO’s symposia. In this session, experts explored how we can extend the donor pool and how we can reduce the challenges in identifying suitable donors.
An ECTTA session focused on the need of knowledge and research on the left ventricle, lung circulation and their interactions in different clinical settings, and there were two VCA sessions that looked in depth into vascularised composite allotransplantation. Here, several key questions were answered to help determine the future direction of VCA and provided a truly international perspective on how these programmes are set up and how optimal care is delivered. There was fascinating insight on offer during the BSC & ECTORS sessions as well, exploring what is new in the translational pipeline. Leading experts revisited developments in the field of cell and organ regeneration and organoids, and also assessed mechanisms of cell death on a molecular level in marginal organs, ischemia injury and therapeutic implications in machine perfusion.
The ETAHP Committee looked at coping with uncertainty and digital caring encounters across two insightful sessions. The symposiums focused on understanding the fear of graft rejection from a patient perspective and how to best approach this as a professional, before discussing the use of digital solutions to relieve uncertainty and empower patients’ self-management. Lastly, ELITA analysed the results of an ELITA/ELTR-initiated study assessing the impact of COVID-19 on liver transplant candidates and recipients. As with much discussion across this year’s congress programme, experts discussed what should be learnt as a result of the pandemic and how we can prepare for the next one.
ESOT would like to extend a sincere thank you to all contributors of these Special Update Symposia.
That’s all for today! Tune in tomorrow for more exciting highlights from the ESOT Congress 2021
About ESOT Congress 2021
The ESOT Congress 2021 features the latest research and innovation from the most prominent scientists and physicians in the field of organ transplantation. Guaranteed to motivate and inspire, this landmark meeting provides a unique opportunity to connect science and medicine.