The American Society of Nephrology (ASN), meeting at Philadelphia on Monday, is to discuss various issues connected with organ trafficking.
Back 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 that raise concern 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.
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, of Children's Hospital in Boston and a co-moderator of the session.
The session, entitled "No to Organ Trafficking and Tourism: An In-Depth Discussion Regarding the Declaration of Istanbul," will be presented as a Basic and Clinical Science Symposium.
ASN understands the importance of this issue and is publishing an article in the November 2008 issue of the CJASN, which finds that people traveling to other countries to receive kidney transplants experience more severe post-transplant complications and a higher incidence of acute rejection and severe infections.
The article, by Jagbir Gill of the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California and his colleagues, entitled "Transplant Tourism in the United States: A Single Center Experience," is currently available online at ttp:cjasn.asnjournals.org/ and in the November 2008 print issue of CJASN.