AST Calls for Improved Standards in Composite Tissue Transplants

Friday, September 19, 2008 General News J E 4
MOUNT LAUREL, N.J., Sept. 18 Composite TissueTransplantation (CTT) represents a new frontier in the field oftransplantation. Since 1998, surgeons worldwide have performed about 50composite tissue transplantations, including faces, hands, larynx andabdominal walls. The American Society of Transplantation (AST) recentlyreleased a Position Paper, which acknowledges the potential benefit of CTT intraumatic tissue loss resulting from limb loss from explosive devices,accidents with farm machinery, burns or other major injuries, but cautionsthat CTT must be brought up to the clinical standards existing in organtransplantation.

What is CTT?

Composite tissue transplantation refers to the transfer of multipleperipheral tissues such as muscle, bone, and skin as a functional unit, suchas a hand, from a deceased donor to a patient requiring such tissue. Allrecipients of CTT must take immunosuppressive medications to help preventrejection of the tissue. These drugs have potential side effects, includingreducing the patient's ability to fight infection and disease. In addition toinfections, long-term immunosuppression can cause organs, including kidney andliver, to fail or diabetes.

AST's Position

As with all new fields, CTT has yet to develop accepted standards ofsuccess. This limits the ability to interpret and compare outcomes fromdisparate groups, especially because such a small number of patients are beingtreated worldwide. The AST supports investment in objective histopathologicalevaluation of CTT grafts, the coding of outcomes and the comparativeassessment of results to existing technology.

To review the AST's position in its entirety, go to

About AST

The AST is an organization of transplant professionals dedicated toresearch, education, advocacy and patient care in transplantation science andmedicine. The society comprises more than 2,800 transplant physicians,surgeons, scientists and allied health professionals. For more informationabout AST visit

Editor's Note: To speak with an AST media expert on this topic, contactBeth Drost at 215.884.6499 or



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