New guidelines to diagnose and treat antibody mediated rejection (AMR) in cardiac transplant patients will be the focus of a consensus conference at the Hilton Chicago. Sponsored jointly by the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation (ISHLT) and the California Heart Center Foundation, the conference brings together 75 of the world’s leading heart transplant experts to discuss and recommend appropriate treatment protocols.
Recent research and clinical experience in the worldwide heart transplant community reveal significant challenges in the diagnosis and treatment of AMR. To address these challenges, the conference is designed to provide a forum for in-depth discussion among the leading experts in the field, including clinicians, pathologists and immunologists. Areas of discussion will include the standardization of the pathologic and immunologic criteria for the diagnosis of AMR, the merits of various assays to specify and quantify circulating antibodies, and the efficacy of various treatment modalities.
“This is a first step in developing much-needed guidelines for AMR to help improve outcomes and minimize rejection complications for cardiac transplant patients,” said James K. Kirklin, MD, ISHLT President. “The next step will be using the guidelines to develop a platform for multi-center clinical trials to further assess the efficacy of therapies.”
Today’s conference will be chaired by Jon Kobashigawa, MD, Director of Cardiac Transplantation at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in California. It is scheduled immediately prior to the ISHLT 30th Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions at the Hilton Chicago, April 21-24.
Antibody mediated rejection (AMR) occurs when the body’s immune system recognizes the transplanted organ as a foreign body and begins to attack it. Specifically, the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) provides a major barrier to acceptance of transplanted organs. Pre-transplant sensitization to HLA antigens leads to decreased survival, increased rejection episodes, and the development of cardiac allograft vasculopathy (CAV). Therefore, the percentage of sensitized candidates who receive transplants is far less than non-sensitized patients leading to increased time on wait-lists and lowers increased death rates while on wait-lists.
The International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation (ISHLT) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the science and treatment of end-stage heart and lung diseases. Created in 1981, the Society now includes more than 2,200 members from 45-plus countries, representing a variety of disciplines involved in the management and treatment of end-stage heart and lung disease.
ISHLT maintains two vital databases. The International Heart and Lung Transplant Registry is a one-of-a-kind registry that has been collecting data since 1983 from 223 hospitals from 18 countries. The ISHLT Mechanical Circulatory Device (MCSD) database has been collecting data since 2002 with the aim of identifying patient populations who may benefit from MCSD implantation; generating predictive models for outcomes; and assessing the mechanical and biological reliability of current and future devices.