Increasing the Supply of Organs for Transplants
While organ transplants save lives, and are cost-effective, the number of transplantable organs in Canada is in short supply. However, current attempts to address this shortage by increasing the use of lower-quality organs is placing people on transplant lists at added risk, believes Dr. A.M. James Shapiro, Canada Research Chair in Transplant Surgery and Regenerative Medicine.
Shapiro aims to use new technologies to increase the quality, safety and quantity of donor organs available for transplant. He and his team are developing strategies that would protect—and even repair—donated organs, and decrease injuries related to organ-recovery and transport. If Shapiro’s strategies prove successful during clinical testing, the result would be a substantial increase in the supply of suitable organs available for transplant.
Shapiro’s research is also exploring the use of regenerative medicine stem cell technologies as a potential cure for diabetes. Considerable progress has been made in treating diabetes by transplanting human beta cells. Shapiro wants to build on this progress by using new stem cell and regenerative strategies to create a limitless supply of available beta cells.
Shapiro’s research could lead to a dramatic increase in the number and quality of organs available for transplantation. It could also add to the considerable progress being made in transplanting beta cells for diabetes treatment.