- The White House announced Monday new actions that will fund $200 million to research and development to reduce the organ waiting list.
- Every 10 minutes, someone is added to the waiting list for a life-saving organ transplant in the United States. Every day, 22 people die while waiting, according to the White House.
- One effort will include the Department of Defense putting more than $160 million in public-private investment in a new Advanced Tissue Biofabrication Manufacturing Innovation Institute to research and develop manufacturing techniques that can be used to repair and replace cells and tissues and that may one day lead to organ replacement.
Each year, approximately 6,000 Americans decide to become a living organ donor, facilitating life-saving kidney and liver transplants, the White House stated.
The efforts seek to close the gap between the 95% of Americans who support organ donation and the nearly 50% of Americans who are registered donors.
While there were more than 30,000 organ transplants performed last year in the U.S. (the largest year-over-year percentage increase since 2004) the White House stated there are still more than 120,000 individuals on the waiting list for an organ. Of those, 100,000 -- a clear majority -- of those on the list are waiting for a kidney transplant.
More than 20 entities, such as organ procurement organizations (OPOs) and major technology companies, have committed to help reduce the transplant wait-time, including:
- More than 12 organizations including Facebook, ORGANIZE, Tinder, and Twitter are developing new tools and public advocacy campaigns to increase the options and ease of registering to be an organ donor, with a goal of achieving 1 million new registrations and social declarations by the autumn of 2016.
- Amy Poehler's Smart Girls will create content and use its social channels to promote organ donation and registration throughout summer and autumn of 2016.
The White House estimates that investing in clinical research could increase the number of transplants by almost 2,000 each year. While not explicitedly stated, it's interesting to note some of these efforts hinge on health IT and interoperability. This illustrates how health IT and data-sharing efforts require further progression. Included in today's announcement:
- More than 30 transplant centers unveiled a collaboration to share data and best practices for kidney transplants for hard-to-match patients, which has the potential to help almost 1,000 more people a year access transplants.
- The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the nation’s Organ Procurement and Transplant Network, will increase efficiencies in the organ procurement and transplant system as well as the potential number of transplants through new technology and data tools that are open to transplant centers and the research community.
Johns Hopkins University is working with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease to launch a multicenter study of HIV-positive to HIV-positive organ transplants. Earlier this year, Johns Hopkins medicine performed the world's first liver transplant between donors and recipients who both were infected with HIV.