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Transplant experts convene at ASN Renal Week 2008 to discuss organ trafficking

With the number of patients in need of organ transplants on the rise, an increasing number of patients are turning to unconventional sources for organs. Individuals are willing to donate their kidneys for financial incentive, particularly in developing countries where the poverty rate is high, resulting in numerous reports of human trafficking as a source of organs. This troubling issue will be the topic of a session during the American Society of Nephrology's 41st Annual Meeting and Scientific Exposition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In April 2008, The Transplantation Society and International Society of Nephrology convened an international summit of more than 150 representatives of scientific and medical bodies from around the world to address unethical practices related to transplantation. Practices include organ trafficking (the illicit sale of human organs), transplant commercialism (when an organ is treated as a commodity), and transplant tourism (when organs given to patients from outside a country undermine the country's ability to provide organs for its own population). The Declaration of Istanbul was born from this meeting and sets forth recommendations to help eliminate organ trafficking. The Declaration advises countries to implement programs to prevent organ failure and provide organs to meet the transplant needs of its residents from donors within their own populations. Maximizing deceased organ donation is also recommended. ASN published The Declaration of Istanbul in the September 2008 print issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN).

During the Renal Week session on this topic, members of The Declaration of Istanbul Steering Committee will present the background, rationale and recommendations from the summit. National and international leaders in the field will discuss the implications of the Declaration.

"We are concerned about this issue and feel it's important for Renal Week attendees to understand the severity of organ trafficking and the implications of the Declaration of Istanbul," says William E. Harmon, MD, of Children's Hospital in Boston, MA, and a co-moderator of the session.


Contact: Shari Leventhal
American Society of Nephrology

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