Partnerships abound – money is poured into the future

It was really hard to choose which item to write about today. So many interesting items; so little time. But this one is truly noteworthy from the standpoint of national organizations fostering cooperation between research institutions. This is taking the spirit of sharing and cooperation one step beyond its normal high level in the scientific world.

A partnership between several major players in the bioscience world has been funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “Case Western Reserve University, the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals of Cleveland will anchor the consortium, which also will include participation by Emory University, Yale University and the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. The University of Pennsylvania and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston will form the other two consortiums.”

All these high-powered players will be putting their brain power together to study heart and kidney transplant patients to see if blood or urine tests can predict whether a patient will reject a transplant and hopefully adjust medications to improve outcomes.

This is a huge focus on the future–heart transplants are becoming more common, but the numbers are not huge. Statistics on U.S. transplants:

• There were 2,154 heart transplants performed in the United States in 2002 and 2,199 in 2001.

• Each year thousands more Americans would benefit from a heart transplant if more donated hearts were available.

• In the United States, about 77 percent of heart transplant patients are male; 74 percent are white; 50 percent are ages 50-64 and 19 percent are ages 35-49.

• In 2002 the one-year survival rate was 86 percent; the three-year survival rate was about 77 percent; and the five-year survival rate was 71 percent.

And here are statistics on kidney transplants:

• 9,078 kidney transplants from cadavers in the USA 2001

• 3,048 kidney transplants from living related donor in the USA 2001

• 9,078 kidney transplants from living unrelated donor in the USA 2001

• 56,598 people waiting for kidney donor in the USA 2001

• 2,444 people waiting for kidney and pancreas donor in the USA 2001

It’s possible that the impact of the baby boomers is at work here. As that huge wave of folks hits the 50s, the burning desire to prolong life by replacing faulty parts gets a lot of energy.