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A Bright Future Lies Ahead for Liver Transplantation

A Bright Future Lies Ahead for Liver Transplantation

By Richard Gilroy, MD

May 22, 2017

Updated Jul 7, 2023

5 min read


We’re living in one of the most exciting times in liver transplantation. A universal cure is now available for the previously often fatal disease of hepatitis C, and living donors are now commonly stepping up to save both children and adults. However, in spite of these wonderful achievements even greater advancements are ahead.

This week, the latest and highest-impact research in liver transplantation is being presented in Prague, Czech Republic. More than 1,700 experts from a variety of medical fields affiliated with liver transplantation are gathering to share their latest research and clinical outcomes. They’re presenting innovative approaches to common problems, and the new knowledge they’re sharing will change the way medicine is practiced in the field for years to come. Discussions about these new discoveries will generate an important dialogue on research that will follow.

One of the most anticipated elements of the 2017 Joint International Congress of the International Liver Transplantation Society, the European Liver and Intestine Transplant Association, and the Liver Intensive Care Group of Europe is the late-breaking abstract session, where the latest and most significant research findings are shared for peer review.

Some of the key studies slated for presentation at the conference include:

  • Identifying patients who will do better or worse after transplant for liver cancer — and, with this knowledge, where we must focus our attention in the future.
  • Being able to expand the potential donor pool of organs for liver transplantation by using newly developed tests and technologies like ex-vivo perfusion.
  • Identifying patients with severe alcoholic liver disease who might be suitable for liver transplantation and who aren’t a candidate.
  • The impact of treating patients with the most severe liver disease due to hepatitis C before transplant with a view to preventing transplant in some while not committing others to Model for End-Stage Liver Disease purgatory.

Intermountain Medical Center’s Liver Transplant Program is among the institutions presenting late-breaking research. Others include King’s College Hospital in London, University Hospital RWTH in Aachen, Germany, Asan Medical Center in Seoul, Korea, and St. James Hospital in Dublin, Ireland.

This year’s conference will be the largest in history and brings together doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, surgeons, infectious disease physicians, radiologists, and several other subspecialties from more than 80 countries who are involved in helping patients overcome liver disease and live the healthiest life possible after liver transplantation.

As a transplant hepatologist, this meeting will be an invaluable experience for me, and for my patients. I look forward to presenting daily updates and gaining new knowledge. More importantly, I hope to project where new advancements in liver transplantation are taking us, and in particular I look forward to gaining insights into the bioartificial future of printing and growing organs. Be watching for further updates!