The congress is considered the field's most important scientific meeting, with both basic and clinical scientific findings being presented in sessions Monday, Aug. 26 through Friday, Aug. 30 at the Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa in Hollywood, Fla.
The international flavor of the meeting also brings into sharp focus a worldwide crisis: Nowhere in the world are there enough organs to meet the need of those awaiting transplants of organs such as hearts, livers, lungs, kidneys, pancreases and intestines, or of tissues and cells, such as pancreatic islet cells, corneas, bone even hands.
Although no official figures are available, it is estimated that between 150,000 and 200,000 people throughout the world are waiting for transplants on any given day. About 65,000 transplants are performed each year, and approximately 45,000 of these are kidney transplants. Most transplants are performed using organs and tissues from cadaveric donors, who during life expressed a willingness to make such a gift after death. But the number of organ donors differs from country to country. Spain continues to outperform all other countries. According to 2001 figures from Transplant Procurement Management, an international registry on organ donation and transplantation (www.tpm.org), Spain had a rate of 32.5 donors per million population (DPM), followed by Austria (23 DPM), Belgium (21.6 DPM), the United States (21.4 DPM) and Portugal (20.2 DPM). Some of the donation rates in other countries that same year include 12.8 in Germany , 13.5 in Canada and 1.9 in Greece.