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The Transplantation Society: Building on Success

Wood, Kathryn J.

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doi: 10.1097/
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This year, 2006, is the 40th Anniversary of The Transplantation Society (TTS) (Fig. 1). The Society has a rich and impressive history that has been summarized by Dr. Nicholas Tilney, President Elect of The Transplantation Society, in a monograph entitled “The Transplantation Society—Four Decades of International Cooperation, Innovation, Growth and Progress,” which charts the key events in the Society’s development from its inception 40 years ago (1). It makes fascinating reading and I recommend it to all of you.

The Transplantation Society 40th anniversary. (A) The Transplantation Society (TTS) 40th anniversary logo. (B) The Transplantation Society—Four Decades of International Cooperation, Innovation, Growth and Progress. Front Cover of Transplantation 2006: Volume 81, Issue 11.

The Transplantation Society has a continuous record of significant achievement and innovation over all of its four decades. Thus, when one is elected to any position in the Society, not least the Presidency, one becomes aware very quickly that anything one does builds upon the innovation, energy and success of the Presidents and Council who have gone before. Learning from past successes and failures is a critical part of being successful in the future. In order for The Transplantation Society to continue to meet the needs of its members wherever they are working in the world, we need to build on the success of the past achievements of the Society, while having a close eye on the trends and changes that predict our future. This, of course, all sounds very grand but it is the President and Council that have to develop strategies that bring these objectives into reality. I am confident that TTS through its innovative programs and initiatives will continue to build on success and provide the focus for global leadership in transplantation for the next four decades and beyond (Fig. 2).

The Transplantation Society: building on success.

The increasing complexity of science and clinical practice means that it is becoming ever more difficult to be a one man show. To be competitive one needs to build a team where each contributor brings a skill that is valued, unique and essential for success. Some organizations and systems are much more experienced at building effective collaborations than others. One such complex system with which I am very familiar is the immune system that has evolved and developed collaboration to a fine art and, for the most part, got it right some time ago. I can hear the groans from some members of the audience, but however difficult this is to accept it is undoubtedly true that the immune system knows how to collaborate and to change its strategy for collaboration to the exact circumstances that it encounters! The immune response to a transplant is a perfect example of collaboration, cooperation and dialogue in action (Fig. 3).

Effective collaboration: the immune system. Donor-derived dendritic cells activated in the graft, migrate from the transplant to the draining lymphoid tissue of the recipient where they talk to and collaborate with recipient T cells to initiate a response to the transplant. This conversation results in a series of effective collaborations that orchestrate the overall response to the transplant that can include production of antidonor antibody by B cells.

Just as one example of this process in action, the dendritic cells released from the graft as a result of the inflammatory signals triggered by tissue and organ retrieval and transplantation, migrate to the recipient lymphoid tissue where they communicate the knowledge that they have acquired in the graft to the host or recipient T cells. The T cells take, process this information and make a decision about whether to take action or not. This decision will also be influenced by the prevailing conditions, including whether and what type of immunosuppression is being used. If and when the T cells take action, a whole series of colleagues, other T cells and B cells, are rallied very rapidly to work together. The immune response is therefore not only a collaboration of the multiple players, it is effective because of a highly coordinated process of control, decision making and governance. For some skeptics only seeing is believing and with modern technology, developed outside the field but applied to study the immune system in action, you can actually see the cells talking to each other (2, 3).

In order to address the changing science and demographics of transplant recipients as well as professionals working in all aspects of the field of transplantation worldwide, The Transplantation Society has used its experience and past achievements as a platform/launch pad for a series of new initiatives. Many of these focused on new collaborations, around the theme, The Transplantation Society New Directions Programme.

The result of one of the effective collaborations TTS has undertaken over the past few years is this meeting, the First World Transplant Congress (WTC). As soon as it became clear that all three societies, American Society of Transplantation (AST), American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS), and TTS, had selected Boston as the venue for their 2006 meeting, we began working together to develop a joint meeting. WTC 2006 has brought together more than 6,000 professionals from around the world who are actively working in the field of transplantation to present and discuss their latest data. Among the delegates, the many professional disciplines of transplantation are represented including transplant scientists, physicians, surgeons, transplant coordinators and nurses, pharmacists, organ procurement professionals, epidemiologists, virologists as well as ethicists. The program developed for WTC took the best elements of each of the Society meetings, enabling the Programme Committee to develop a varied format that includes State of the Art and Sunrise Symposia as well as Plenary Session for invited presentations and concurrent sessions for the presentation of new data. Over 4,000 abstracts were submitted for peer review by the WTC Abstract Review Panels, each reporting new data from all of the many disciplines that encompass our rapidly developing field. After peer review, 3061 abstracts were accepted for presentation during the concurrent sessions, with 1221 papers being presented orally and 1840 as posters.

Other effective collaborations that The Transplantation Society has developed and that have come to fruition over the past two years include the ongoing interaction with the World Health Organization (WHO). This collaboration began in 2006 when The Transplantation Society was accepted into official relations with the WHO. This means that the WHO and The Transplantation Society will work together on all issues relating to Cell and Tissue Transplantation.

To support and facilitate this as well as other international relationships the Society has developed a new role, TTS Director of Medical Affairs and has appointed Dr. Francis Delmonico to this post as of July 1, 2006 (Fig. 4).

The Transplantation Society, nongovernmental organization in Official Relations with the World Health Organization 2006. Professor Kathryn Wood and Dr. Francis L. Delmonico (right), The Transplantation Society, meet with Dr. Luc Noel, World Health Organization, at the WHO Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

One of the other projects, initiated by President Carl Groth and Council in 2002, that has come officially into being this year is the Global Alliance for Transplantation (GAT) (4). The mission of the GAT is: “To advance the safe, effective and ethical practice of transplantation for all patients in need.” The first GAT Advisory Board Meeting where all regional and international organizations working in the field transplantation came together to discuss issues of common interest was held in November 2005 and the second during WTC. These meetings have established a working framework and governance structure for the GAT, an agenda for the coming session as well as a series of projects in the fields of education, information and professional guidelines that the GAT will pursue under the chairmanship of Professor Jeremy Chapman (

Ethics and policy remain at the forefront of the Society’s agenda. The Society has focused on issues relating to the medical care of living donors in the last few years with major policy publications resulting from both the Amsterdam and Vancouver Forums of The Transplantation Society (5–7). To further reinforce this important stand, Dr. Annika Tibell is the new chair of The Society’s Ethics Committee. The Ethics Committee will continue to ensure that TTS has a clear consistent data driven and up to date stance on the entire range of important ethical and policy issues relating to transplantation worldwide. Policy and Ethics Statements from The Transplantation Society are available on the website at under the Policy and Ethics tab.

The Transplantation Society is committed to recognizing excellence in transplantation science and clinical practice around the world. The Medawar Prize is a longstanding award presented by the Society at each of the International Congresses of The Transplantation Society supported by an endowment kindly provided to TTS by Novartis Pharma. The Medawar Prize Winners for 2006 are Carl G. Groth, Pekka Häyry, and Sir Peter J. Morris (8). The Society congratulates each of them on a life time of contributions to the field of transplantation; each of their lectures is also presented in this issue of Transplantation. This year, for the first time The Society also invited nominations for a new series of awards to recognize individuals and/or teams who are actively contributing to the development of the field of transplantation (Fig. 5). This is part of The New Directions Programme of The Transplantation Society. Nominations for each of these new awards were requested from members of the Society and submitted via the website for review by the selection panel. The Society was delighted to receive a large number of nominations for each of these new awards from members in each of the Global Regions of The Transplantation Society. TTS congratulates each of the recipients on their achievements (Fig. 5) and would like to thank Roche and Genzyme for supporting these new awards.

TTS Achievement Awards 2006.

Identifying talented young investigators is very important for the future development of the field of transplantation. The Transplantation Society has always recognized 10 young investigators who receive the highest score for abstracts submitted for presentation at each Congress—these awards are kindly supported by Astellas. This year the Society has developed new programs to support other aspects of the development and training of young investigators committed to the field of transplantation. First, four research training fellowships have been awarded following a review of applications submitted for consideration (Fig. 6). Each TTS Research Fellowship is funded for a period of two years to enable a young TTS member to obtain research training in a laboratory or clinical environment. Second, The Transplantation Society has initiated a new series of meetings to identify the Key Opinion Leaders of Tomorrow. At these small, informal scientific meetings established scientists and clinicians who are members of The Transplantation Society in each of its global regions will be invited to nominate one of their young colleagues to attend the meeting with them to present and discuss their latest data. The first two meetings in this series will be held in Barcelona and Buenos Aries. Transplantation Society would like to thank Wyeth for supporting this initiative in 2006.

TTS Research Fellowships 2006.

I have already alluded to the fact that The Transplantation Society is placing a great deal of emphasis on participation in each of its programs and initiatives by members from each of its 6 global regions. The Transplantation Society reorganized into six Global TTS regions, to better reflect the needs of the Society’s members in 63 countries throughout the world in 2004. The elections held earlier this year for the 2006–8 Council are the first to ensure that there is at least one member of The Council of The Transplantation Society from each global region. The members of the 2006–08 Council representing each of the regions are shown in Figure 7. If as a member of The Transplantation Society working anywhere in the world, please do not hesitate to contact a member of Council or Dr. Francis Delmonico, TTS Director of Medical Affairs, to raise an issue that is relevant to your country or region. The Society will be pleased to help in anyway it can.

TTS Council 2006–8 representing each of the global regions of The Transplantation Society.

In our day-to-day work environment we can clearly see the benefit that transplantation has brought to patients around the world. The field continues to grow. In 2006 the potential exists for further transplant therapies for a wider range of diseases, benefiting ever more patients and their families. I can clearly report that The Transplantation Society in 2006 is thriving and has the internal strength and capability to pull together the diverse issues that pertain to the field, to be a forum for the discussion of important, sometimes contentious policy questions, and to develop education for the transplant community around the world. The Transplantation Society has, through its representatives in each region of the world and through collaboration, an increasing knowledge of the key issues that relate to science and clinical practice in transplantation internationally enabling TTS to drive forward global policy as well as scientific and clinical agendas into the future. It has been a great honor and pleasure to serve the Society as its president for the last two years.


1. Tilney N. Four decades of international cooperation, innovation, growth and progress. Transplanation 2006; 82: 1475.
2. Okada T, Miller M, Parker I, et al. Antigen-engaged B cells undergo chemotaxix toward the T zone and form motile conjugates with helper T cells. PLOS Biology 2005; 3: 1047.
3. Cahalan M, Gutman G. The sence of place in the immune system. Nature Immunology 2006; 7: 329.
4. Groth C, Wood KJ, Chapman J. The needs for a Global Alliance for Transplantation. In: M. Cecka, ed. Clinical Transplants. UCLA Immunogenetics Center, 2006.
5. The Transplantation Society. 2004. The consensus statement of the Amsterdam Forum on the care of live kidney donor. Transplanation 78: 491–492.
6. Barr M, Belghiti J, Villamil F, et al. A report of the Vancouver Forum on the care of the live organ donor: Lung, liver, pancrease and intestine. Data and medical guidelines. Transplanation 2006; 81: 1373.
7. Pruett T, Tibell A, Alabdulkareem A, et al. The ethics statement of the Vancouver Forum on the live lung, liver, pancreas and intestine donor. Transplanation 2006; 81: 1386.
8. Sutherland DER. The Transplantation Society Medawar Prize Ceremony 2006: Introduction. Transplantation 2006; 82: 1571.
© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.