At the inaugural World Transplant Congress, held in Boston earlier this year, a trio of pioneers in the science and surgery of transplantation were awarded the world transplant community's highest honor: The Medawar Prize.
To honor the occasion—and to mark outstanding new research that will lead to tomorrow's advances in transplantation—the official journal of The Transplantation Society, is a special issue dedicated to the World Transplant Congress.
This issue includes the keynote speeches from the Congress, as well as the WTC abstracts that received the highest scores during abstract review. "In 2006 the potential exists for further transplant therapies for a wider range of diseases, benefiting ever more patients and their families," said Prof. Kathryn J. Wood, President of The Transplantation Society, in her address to the inaugural World Transplant Congress. "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 three winners of The Medawar Prize were recognized for their pivotal roles in helping to transform organ transplantation from a far-fetched dream to a life-saving treatment for thousands of patients worldwide. Named after Sir Peter Medawar, co-founder of The Transplantation Society, the Medawar Prize is recognized as the world's highest dedicated award for the most outstanding contributions in the field of transplantation. The honorees were:
• Dr. Carl Gustav Groth, whose career spanned the first successful human liver transplants in 1967, to the improvement of immunosuppression, to groundbreaking studies of pancreas and islet cell transplantation for treatment of diabetes.
• Dr. Pekka Häyry, who performed critical experiments showing how immune system cells respond to and kill foreign cells after transplantation. Dr. Häyry also performed landmark studies of the diagnosis and prevention of kidney transplant rejection.
• Sir Peter John Morris, who performed trailblazing research into the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) system, which plays a critical role in matching organs for transplantation to compatible donors.
The World Transplant Congress, held July 2006 in Boston, was the first joint meeting of three leading professional societies: The Transplantation Society, the American Society of Transplant Surgeons, and the American Society of Transplantation. The Congress was attended by over 6,500 registrants from 50 different countries, representing the broad range of professional disciplines involved in transplantation.
More than 3,000 research studies were accepted in abstract form for presentation at the Congress. The special issue of Transplantation publishes the 40 papers that gained the highest scores in the peer-review process, representing the pinnacle of current transplantation research.
Also presented are the acceptance speeches made by the three Medawar Prize honorees, which provide fascinating insights into some of the most critical developments in the history of transplantation. Other highlights include keynote addresses to the World Transplant Congress by Sen. Hilary Clinton of New York and Alonzo Mourning, National Basketball Association star and kidney transplant recipient.
Prof. Wood and the Editors of Transplantation offer thanks and congratulations to the Medawar Prize honorees, as well as to the researchers whose outstanding work earned them inclusion in the special World Transplant Congress issue. "The Editors would like to express their thanks to those who contributed to this special issue of Transplantation dedicated to the WTC and to all those who have played a role in the very successful year enjoyed by the journal."