Two new (Junior) Clinician Scientitsts
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Dr. Simon Moosburner and Dr. Tomasz Dziodzio successfully applied for the BIH Charité (Junior) Clinician Scientist Program.

Dr. Dziodzio is studying pathomechanisms of obesity in the context of kidney transplantation and investigates the impact of obesity on the immune response in the kidney transplant recipient. In addition, a clinical trial will investigate whether surgical weight reduction in obese patients prior to kidney transplantation leads to improved graft function.

Dr. Moosburner is working on the extracorporeal evaluation of liver grafts from older donors. The aim is to characterise old liver grafts during normothermic machine perfusion. For this purpose, a model for normothermic ex vivo machine perfusion of small animal livers as well as liver transplantation in the rat model was established.

Declined Liver Grafts – Analysis of the German Donor Population from 2010 to 2018
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"Declined Liver Grafts – Analysis of the German Donor Population from 2010 to 2018" was published in the Zeitschrift für Gastroenterologie.
The lack of suitable allografts limits the availability of liver transplantation in Germany. The quality of potentially available German donor livers has to date not been analyzed.
Analysis of all donors for potential liver transplantations reported to the Eurotransplant by the German Organ Transplantation Foundation from 2010 to 2018. Categorization of transplanted and discarded organs utilizing available histopathological reports and predefined extended criteria for organ donation.
A total of 8594 livers were offered for transplantation, of which 15.2 % were discarded. During the analysis period the proportion of donor livers from extended criteria donors increased from 65 % to 70 % (p = 0.005). In 2018, 21.3 % of offered donor livers were discarded, more than half (56.4 %) of these organs came from donors meeting multiple extended criteria. Livers were significantly more likely to be not transplanted, when from donors of older age (> 65 years; 41 vs. 28 %), BMI > 30 kg/m2 (29 vs. 14 %) or elevated transaminase levels (all p < 0.001).
Despite the consistent organ scarcity in Germany, a relevant amount of livers cannot be transplanted due to a multitude of organ quality limitations. This should stimulate the search for concepts such as normothermic ex vivo machine perfusion to evaluate, protect and potentially improve organ quality.

Authors are Simon Moosburner, Nathanael Raschzok, Christina Schleicher, Detlef Bösebeck, Joseph M.G.V. Gaßner, Paul V. Ritschl, Axel Rahmel, Igor M. Sauer, and Johann Pratschke.
Z Gastroenterol. 2020 Aug 24. doi: 10.1055/a-1199-7432. Online ahead of print.
EKFS grant | Metabolic reconditioning of steatotic rat liver grafts by normothermic ex vivo machine perfusion
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The Else Kröner Fresenius Stiftung will fund the project "Metabolic reconditioning of steatotic rat liver grafts by normothermic ex vivo machine perfusion" (PI: Priv.-Doz. Dr. Nathanael Raschzok) for two years.

Liver transplantation is the treatment of choice for end-stage liver disease, yet the number of transplant candidates constantly exceeds the organ supply. The imbalance between demand and supply of liver grafts is dramatically exacerbated by the rising prevalence of obesity and the metabolic syndrome, which both show a strong correlation with steatosis hepatis. Liver grafts with macrovesicular steatosis above 30% are associated with delayed graft function and lower graft and patient survival, and livers with >60% steatosis are generally discarded from transplantation. Within the next 10 years, the overall liver graft utilization could potentially be halved due to the rising prevalence of steatosis, emphasizing the urgent clinical need to find solutions to make steatotic livers acceptable for transplantation.

In this project the hypothesis is tested whether metabolic reprogramming of steatotic liver grafts will 1) restore hepatocyte function, 2) activate lipid catabolism, 3) increase resistance to ischemia reperfusion damage, and 4) alleviate overwhelming inflammatory processes in the early phase of post-transplant regeneration with beneficial long-term impact for graft function and recipient survival.
Ex vivo machine perfusion: current applications and future directions in liver transplantation
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Langenbeck's Archives of Surgery accepted the manuscript „Ex vivo machine perfusion: current applications and future directions in liver transplantation“ for publication.

Liver transplantation is the only curative treatment option for end-stage liver disease, however, its use remains limited due to a shortage of suitable organs. In recent years, ex vivo liver machine perfusion has been introduced to liver transplantation, as a means to expand the donor organ pool.
To present a narrative review of prospective clinical studies on ex vivo liver machine perfusion, in order to assess current applications and highlight future directions.
Methods: A systematic literature search of both PubMed and ISI web of science databases as well as the registry was performed.
Twenty articles on prospective clinical trials on ex vivo liver machine perfusion were identified. Out of these, eight reported on hypothermic, nine on normothermic, and two on sequential perfusion. These trials have demonstrated the safety and feasibility of ex vivo liver machine perfusion in both standard and expanded criteria donors. Currently, there are 12 studies enrolled in the registrar, and these focus on use of ex vivo perfusion in extended criteria donors as well as declined organs.
Ex vivo liver machine perfusion seems to be a suitable strategy to expand the donor pool for liver transplantation and holds promise as a platform for reconditioning diseased organs.

Authors are Julian Michelotto, Joseph MGV Gaßner, Simon Moosburner, Vanessa Muth, Madhukar S Patel, Markus Selzner, Johann Pratschke, Igor M. Sauer, and Nathanael Raschzok.
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