Social, economic, and policy implications of organ preservation advances

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Despite over 60 years of progress in the field of since the first organ transplant, insufficient organ preservation capabilities still place profound constraints on transplantation. These constraints play multiple and compounding roles in the predominant limitations of the field: the severe shortages of transplant organs, short-term and long-term posttransplant outcomes and complications, the unmet global need for development of transplant infrastructures, and economic burdens that limit patient access to transplantation and contribute to increasing global healthcare costs. This review surveys ways that advancing preservation technologies can play a role in each of these areas, ultimately benefiting thousands if not millions of patients worldwide.

Recent findings

Preservation advances can create a wide range of benefits across many facets of organ transplantation, as well as related areas of transplant research. As these technologies mature, so will the policies around their use to maximize the benefits offered by organ preservation.

Summary

Organ preservation advances stand to increase local and global access to transplantation, improve transplant outcomes, and accelerate progress in related areas such as immune tolerance induction and xenotransplantation. This area holds the potential to save the healthcare system many billions of dollars and reduce costs across many aspects of transplantation. Novel preservation technologies, along with other technologies facilitated by preservation advances, could potentially save millions of lives in the coming years.

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