Children between the ages of 2 and 18 had the best survival rates among 1,000 liver transplant patients whose immunosuppression was managed with tacrolimus (formerly known as FK506 and now marketed as Prograf), Ashok Jain, M.D., assistant professor of surgery at the Starzl Transplantation Institute will report Sunday, Nov. 8. Researchers at the UPMC followed patients, ranging from infants to seniors, who were transplanted between 1989 and 1992, to determine their long-term survival using the anti-rejection drug developed at the UPMC. With 84 percent of the patients being hospital-bound at the time of transplantation, the overall one-year and seven-year patient survival was 84 percent and 66 percent, respectively. Survival rates for a subgroup of 91 children remained at 91 percent after seven years, the highest among the different age groupings. Survival rates for the other groups were also reported: 75 infants had one-year survival of 83 percent and seven-year survival of 77 percent; 630 adults between the ages of 18 and 60 had survival rates at one and seven years of 85 and 65 percent, respectively; 70 percent of the 204 patients older than 60 were alive at one year, and 49 percent were alive after seven years. Dr. Jain says that steroids were successfully weaned in about 70 percent of all the patients.
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The scientific meeting will also include a day-long series of debates on "Clinical and Administrative Controversies in Liver and Pancreas Transplantation" scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 7. The UPMC, which has strongly advocated for changes in the organ allocation system, will participate in two of three debates on this subject.