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Alumni Café: The Future of Transplantation: Engineering and Distributing Super-Organs


Join the Woodsworth College Alumni Association for an Alumni Café featuring world-renowned thoracic surgeon-scientist and U of T Professor, Dr. Shaf Keshavjee speaking on "The Future of Transplantation: Engineering and Distributing Super-Organs."

Transplantation is a life saving therapy for patients with end stage organ failure. As miraculous as this solution is, it is limited by two major factors: the shortage of suitable quality donor organs and rejection. Firstly, the majority of donor organs are not usable for transplantation – a problem which is most acute for lung transplantation in that only 20% of donor lungs worldwide are used for transplantation. Secondly, once you transplant an organ, the recipient will spend the rest of their life trying to reject that “foreign” organ.

Our quest has been to create more suitable donor lungs for life-saving lung transplants, and also to engineer lungs that look more like “self” so that they will be better accepted by their host recipient. Achieving these goals requires advanced biologic and technological advances as well as major system changes in how organs are preserved, managed and distributed.

To this end, in Toronto, we have developed a technique to keep lungs alive and breathing ex vivo (outside the body), called Ex vivo Lung Perfusion (EVLP,) to repair and regenerate lungs, giving us the opportunity to engineer “super-organs” that are pre-prepared for the transplant journey. We have also developed and built “organ repair centres” where organs are flown in, repaired and transported out for transplant at many transplant hospitals across North America. We are also developing novel strategies to manage and deliver organs more efficiently for transplantation including the development of drones specifically designed to safely fly across populated areas and deliver organs for transplantation.

The field of organ transplantation is being rapidly transformed to improve the long term success of organ replacement therapy for a variety of end stage organ diseases.

After the lecture, in-person attendees will have a chance to meet Dr. Keshavjee and mingle with other guests. Please note that in-person seats are limited.

Please register here to receive the link to the livestream.