Newsletter no. 3, April 2014

Dear Working Group members,

From the start of the working group, it was the intention of the board to communicate both through the web page, but also through newsletters which was to be produced at least twice a year. This is the first newsletter in 2014 and the third al together. The intention with the newsletters is to give a review of what has been achieved and what is to come in the near future in the DESCARTES working group. We hope that you as members find these newsletters of value. If some of you have ideas to subjects that could also be included in the newsletters, please do not hesitate to communicate this to the board.
In the present newsletter, please pay special attention to the educational activities with a new initiative on abstract submission for the ERA-EDTA CME in Parma on November 28th 2014.

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Educational activities
The 10th transplant academy took place in Amsterdam on the 15th of November 2013. The title/headline for this Transplant Academy was: “Not your standard transplant: Which techniques can we use to improve transplant numbers and results”. The program included 4 presentations in the morning session and 4 different workshops in the afternoon. All together there were 89 participants in the Academy from 16 different, mainly European countries. Based on the evaluations forms and the lively discussions from the very active participants the meeting was very positively received and evaluated. The overall conclusion from the board of DESCARTES is that the Transplant Academy 2013 was a great success and that involvement in the next Transplant Academy is recommended. Thus, a new Transplant Academy is planned to take place in Prague on October 31, 2014. The programme will be organised by DESCARTES together with the Organ Expert Section of ESOT on kidney transplantation in Europe (EKITA), and chaired by Ondrej Viklicky and Fritz Diekmann. The program is soon to be published with details of the application process.
At the coming ERA-EDTA congress in Amsterdam DESCARTES, in cooperation with EKITA, organizes a CME session on May 2014 9:00-12:00. The title is “Back to the basics of renal transplantation”. For further details please refer to this link http://www.era-edta2014.org/en-US/descartes-cme-2. Participation is free of charge for congress delegates.  The board of DESCARTES hopes that the working group members will participate in the CME but also sees this as an opportunity to network with other members of DESCARTES.
ERA-EDTA is the organizer of an up-coming CME course in Parma Italy on November 28th, 2014. The title of the CME course is: Renal Transplantation in the Elderly. The CME is endorsed by DESCARTES. As a new initiative in this CME course members of DESCARTES are encouraged to submit abstracts dealing with all aspects of kidney transplantation from the elderly donor and/or in the elderly recipient. The abstracts will be scored and ranked by the faculty panel. The authors of the three best scored abstracts will be asked to present their work in a plenary communication session to be held during the CME. The authors of the three best scored abstracts will be granted with free meeting registration, accommodation and travel as well as with a grant of 1000 €, 500 €, and 250 € according to their ranking positions in the abstract evaluation. In case the presenting author is unable to present the abstract, another co-author can take his/her place with the provision that he/she is a Descartes Ordinary member. Please visit http://www.euromeetings.it/txelderly.html for detailed program information, registration, travel opportunities and call for abstracts.
Update on the tolerance study
The joint DESCARTES/Nantes investigation on operational tolerance (for details see newsletter 2.) has had a very successful start. The first part was planned as a survey in all European transplant Centres in order to evaluate the frequency of operational tolerance and identify patients for further investigations. As you can see from the graphs below, many centres have completed the survey. We still expect complete data from France, and a couple of centres from Germany, Italy, UK and elsewhere. To date, we have identified 21 new tolerant patients, and 41 almost tolerant patients, among the 119 591 patients that were surveyed (see graphs below). Our next plan is to set up a think-tank meeting to address such issues as tolerant patients sampling and biological investigations, planned end 2014. Interested members of Descartes will be invited to submit a research project that will be evaluated by the board. If considered of value, the investigator will be invited to the meeting to present his project.
Update on the Senior Transplant Registry and the Reduce study
The Senior Transplant Registry and the Reduce study has been presented in former newsletters. It is a DESCARTES pan European study aiming at optimising immunosuppression in elderly (>65 years) kidney transplant patients. The combined project of the Senior Registry and the Reduce study is planned to include 1000 patients in the registry of whom 400 are to be included in the study. The study protocol is in its final stages and is to be evaluated by the Centre of Excellence in Transplantation. We very much hope that this trial will help to establish new standards for safe immunosuppression of elderly patients. It is expected that the study starts recruiting patients in 2015.
Guidelines for pre-emptive living Tx
Presently DESCARTES in collaboration with European Renal Best Practice (ERBP) are working on guidelines for pre-emptive living donor transplantation. The working group is chaired by Wim Van Biesen from ERBP and includes Maria Haller from ERBP method support team, Daniel Abramowicz, Umberto Maggiore, Rainer Oberbauer, and Marc Hazzan all from DESCARTES as well as Pierre Cochat and Licia Perizzi both paediatric nephrologists. The work is progressing as planned and the guidelines are expected to be published at the end of 2014/beginning of 2015.
Joint DESCARTES/IKITA board meeting
As was the case in 2013 the board of DESCARTES held a joint planning meeting with the board of EKITA on March 27-28 in Fulpmess, Austria. The Meeting was organized by Rainer Oberbauer, a member of both boards.  The idea with these meetings has been to develop a close cooperation, on working group level, between the two pan European societies for renal transplantations, ERA-EDTA and ESOT. A close cooperation is judged as imperative for building a strong and trustworthy network for both educational and scientific activities within renal transplantation in Europe. A major issue for both activities is funding, and the Fulpmess meeting 2014 was partly dedicated to the evaluation of possibilities within the EU Horizon 2020 programme in relation to renal transplantation. Umberto Maggiore from DESCARTES gave a presentation of the health section of Horizon 2020 where the headline is “Personalising health and care” with a total budget of 1200 million Euro. The two working groups will in the coming month look into the further possibilities for funding of research within renal transplantation from this programme. More information on the Horizon 2020 programme can be found at: http://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/data/ref/h2020/wp/2014_2015/main/h2020-wp1415-health_en.pdf.
During the Fulpmess meeting plans for further joint research activities was discussed and initiated. Further details will be given in up-coming issues of this newsletter.
It was decided to continue the joint CME activity in the coming congresses in London 2015 (ERA-EDTA) and Brussels 2015 (ESOT).

With our best regards to all Descartes members,

On behalf of the DESCARTES board

Søren Schwartz Sørensen