Daily Recap

Wednesday 1 September, 2021

Thank You for Attending ESOT Congress 2021! 

Thank you for your valuable participation at the 20th ESOT Congress.

The meeting truly delivered world-class science, from ground-breaking abstract-based presentations to Think Tank sessions full of debate and discussion.

It has been a great opportunity to network once again – both online via our virtual platform and for those onsite in Milan – helping to foster collaboration and future partnerships.

The preparation for this hybrid meeting has required novel technologies, creative imagination and tremendous collaboration. As a community, these are qualities that we deliver each day in our field, and we hope that the Congress motivated and inspired you to continue to do so to improve the lives of our patients across the world.   

The journey does not stop today – we encourage you to continue using our platform to revisit sessions on-demand and join ESOT in the development of our vision for equitable and sustainable transplantation in Europe and beyond.

With warmest regards, 

Luciano Potena, ESOT President

Umberto Cillo, ESOT Secretary 

Co-Chairs of ESOT Congress 2021 

Organ perfusion: Quo Vadis?

Following an introduction from session Chairs, Sandra Lindstedt and Amelia Hessheimer, the first speaker, Gabriel Oniscu, delivered an insightful presentation on ‘What is state-of-the-art in machine perfusion?’. Gabriel emphasised the value of NRP in transplantation, stating that the biggest development has been seen with normothermic liver machine perfusion. Discussing machine perfusion protocols and which strategy to use, Gabriel emphasised that optimal perfusion time must be a key goal, before proceeding to explain why the complexities of machine perfusion have meant uptake is low. Gabriel concluded by detailing how we can fine-tune the future of machine perfusion more effectively and that we need to ‘demolish’ the barriers to better implement machine perfusion.

Stefan Schneeberger then presented ‘Machine perfusion endpoints achieved in random clinical trials: abdominal’. Discussing a series of trials, Stefan particularly highlighted the 50+ DCD, HMP02 vs HMP which he stated was a ‘prime example of how to do a trial successfully’. Stefan went on to detail the unmet needs currently in play for machine perfusion, including WL mortality and organ assessment, and stated that the challenge of ‘discard rate probably ranks highest’. He concluded with an encouraging message that ‘overall, the advancement of the MP technology has a positive impact on the field and beyond’

We then heard about the cardiothoracic machine perfusion endpoints achieved in randomised clinical trials from Dirk Van Raemdonck. Dirk outlined how machine perfusion technology can play a crucial role in improving outcome after thoracic organ transplantation, particularly exploring a series of studies on the effectiveness of the Organ Care System platform vs. standard preservation using cold storage. Dirk finished his talk with a series of key takeaways, including that machine perfusion for thoracic organ transplantation is now safe and feasible in standard-criteria heart and lungs.

Ina Jochmans then delivered the final presentation: ‘Biomarkers 2021: Have we made progress in predicting organ viability? A multiorgan perspective’. Analysing the evidence, she demonstrated that it is unclear whether normothermic perfusion and hypothermic perfusion can be used as a reliable viability assessment tool for the kidney and liver respectively. However, promisingly she determined that normothermic perfusion ‘can be used to test high-risk livers’, while acknowledging that ‘more evidence is needed. Moving forward, Ina concluded that the viability marker must predict outcome independently of other knowns and reliably with high accuracy.

From candlelight to rocket science: The journey of transplantation

The final session of ESOT congress 2021 started with a brief welcome from Vassilios Papalois and Stefan Schneeberger, before Umberto Cillo delivered a session introduction ‘700 days of ESOT Congress 2021 Milan journey’. Umberto provided an overview of the ESOT experience over the last 2 years, highlighting the role of the COVID-19 pandemic and the adjustment to virtual and digital ways of working and interacting. He emphasised how this experience helped build towards the creation of the congress in Milan, before demonstrating the huge successes of the Congress. Umberto ended by thanking everyone, particularly the ESOT Team, who were instrumental in making the congress so effective.

Maria Rosa Costanzo then delivered a presentation on achievements in transplantation. Amongst many other successes, she highlighted developments in organ donation awareness amongst minorities, improvements in paediatric organ transplantation and the significant advances in personalised medicine in heart transplantation. She concluded by paying homage to her transplantation heroes.

Luciano Potena then announced the two winners of the coveted Leonardo da Vinci (LDV) award, who both proceeded to deliver presentations on their research (see below for a summary of the LDV award winners).

Following this, William Fissell delivered a fascinating presentation, ‘No transplant as we know it’, in which he comprehensively summarised his work and chief goal to develop a totally artificial kidney. During his talk, William broke down the routes and progress made towards creating an implantable artificial kidney. This included a very powerful statement that despite being told they would never be able to achieve preclinical hemofilter implantation, 16 years later ‘we did it’! Concluding, William highlighted the clear pathway towards achieving the universal donor kidney and finished with a direct take-home message that the universal donor Kidney is within reach, but they need more money and support to realise this.

Next, we heard from Hans Clevers, who’s presentation covered ‘Organoids to model human disease’. After explaining the details of his research and findings, Hans demonstrated the long-term survival of transplanted colon organoids grown from a single stem cell, which made for very encouraging viewing. From this, Hans showed an example of how this approach could be used as a personalised medicine for restoring CFTR function and gene correction, before revealing how it could be used to develop hepatocyte organoids.

Following an introduction from Vassilios Papalois, Luciano Potena delivered the Presidential Address & Closing to finish off the session and the congress. During his address, he explained his reasoning for aspiring to take on the role of President before stating that ‘ESOT needs people that are willing to engage’ and he welcomed all in the transplant community to get involved. Luciano then mapped out his vision for ESOT moving forward, stressing that he will focus on a number of key issues, including improving diversity, increasing multidisciplinary involvement and tackling inequalities. He paid homage to the work and success of previous ESOT President Vassilios Papalois, and concluded with a simple and clear message that he hopes to continue and build on this success during his own tenure – well said Luciano!

Leonardo da Vinci (LDV) Award Winners

The Leonardo Da Vinci Transplant Research Innovation Award is the most prestigious scientific award at the ESOT Congress, stimulating an unprecedented and innovative approach to research. There are two winners of this award; one for clinical research and one for basic or translational science.

ESOT would like to congratulate Marc Raynaud for winning the clinical science award and Nicola de Stefano for picking up the basic science prize! Both prizes were presented during today’s closing plenary session.

Marc Raynaud’s research focused on ‘Dynamic prediction of kidney-graft survival with artificial intelligence: An international study of deep cohorts of kidney recipients’, whilst Nicola de Stefano presented the study: ‘Extracellular vesicles from human liver stem cells reduce injury in a model of normothermic perfusion of rat ischemic liver’. Both awardees will be rewarded with a €10,000 prize and an invitation to submit a peer reviewed article in Transplant International.

Machine Perfusion Track

A number of sessions and activities throughout this year’s Congress have fallen under the ‘Machine Perfusion Track’ bracket. This included the Plenary ‘From candlelight to rocket science – the journey of transplantation surgery’, where experts highlighted the current and future options for implantable artificial organs. Biological organ replacement is limited by organ availability, so experts discussed the hopes for the future in utilising organ banks through vitrification, supercooling and xenotransplantation.

In the ESOT Education Zone, delegates in Milan got to trial new devices and technologies via the Hands-on Sessions, which provided interactive demonstrations on the latest tools and offered practical training to participants. For online delegates and to ensure the hybrid nature of the Congress was realised, educational videos were provided covering organ preparation, machine set up, and monitoring.

That’s all for ESOT Congress 2021 – thanks for attending!

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.

Share your Congress experience on social media using the official #ESOTCongress

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