Whole-organ pancreas transplants and partial liver transplant programs arepriorities for renowned transplant surgeon at Cedars-Sinai

number of candidates for liver transplantation in this country on an annual basis-- the number of new registrants-- that number continues to grow exponentially at 30 percent per year. Contrast that to cadaver donor numbers that are increasing at only one or two percent per year," said Dr. Shackleton. "There's no way that the need for liver transplantation is going to be met from the cadaver donor source alone without a dramatic and sustained rise in organ donation rates. And it seems unlikely that this will happen any time soon."

As part of the solution, a living-donor adult liver transplant program is being developed at Cedars-Sinai. This allows surgeons to take part of a liver from a living donor and transplant it into a family member who has a matching tissue type. Even as this adult program is launched, the pediatric transplant program is expected to increase dramatically, providing new hope for families with young children and infants afflicted with liver disease.

"There is no comparison between adult liver transplantation and pediatric liver transplantation," Dr. Shackleton said. "Pediatric transplantation presents a whole different set of challenges. Infants and children who become candidates for liver transplantation are usually very young, often one or two years of age. They're oftentimes very malnourished and small in terms of their achievement of weight and height milestones for their age. And they can't tell you what's wrong. There's very little margin for error, and you need to have the support network of pediatric intensivists, pediatric hepatologists and infectious disease specialists."

Dr. Shackleton said the success of today's transplant programs depends on the ever-increasing use of various "partial liver grafting techniques." For example, one cadaver liver is "split" to save two lives, a segment of a living donor's liver is transplanted to a related or unrelated individual, or

Contact: Sandra Van
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

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