This was a joint meeting of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS), The Transplant Society (TTS) and the American Society of Transplantation (ATS). The Congress was packed with an impressive number of interesting Symposia, State-of-the-Art Lectures as well as Plenary and Poster Sessions covering all aspects of basic and clinical research and care of transplant patients. Interested readers who were not aware of the World Transplant Congress should visit the meeting website at www.wtc2014.org/
There were however relatively few presentations, sessions and posters dealing with generic or biosimilar medicinal products including talks by Professors Teun Van Gelder (Rotterdam, The Netherlands), Jennifer Harrison (Toronto, Canada), and Rita Alloway (Cincinnati, Ohio, USA), and some relevant posters including one from Montreal with the provocative title ‘Is it ethical to prescribe generic immunosupprssive drugs to our transplanted patients’.
I found the State-of-the Art Address by past Nobel Prize winner Shinya Yamanaka, MD, PhD, particularly thought provoking with respect to biosimilars. Professor Yamanaka described his programme to develop human blood cells, white blood cells, red blood cells and platelet precursors from transformed human fibroblasts. It has been calculated that with ‘only’ fibroblasts from about 140 specific HLA donors it should be possible to generate HLA compatible human blood cells for more than 90% of the Japanese population and apparently human trials using these cells are soon to begin in Japan. Similar programmes might also provide solid organs for use in transplantation. If successful this could solve major problems with human blood product and solid organ availability. However, this would also create the potential for future ‘follow-on’ versions of all of these biological products. Approval and use of such follow-on ‘biosimilars’ would also however create some interesting regulatory and clinical barriers.
GaBI Journal has published papers dealing with transplantation but if the number of attendees present and research topics covered at this meeting is any indication the number of manuscripts and topics covered could increase greatly. I encourage readers who are involved in transplantation to consider GaBI Journal for manuscripts dealing with all aspects of generics, biosimilars and non-biological complex drugs to submit their work for consideration.
Competing interests: None.
Provenance and peer review: Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.
Professor Philip D Walson, MD
Editor-in-Chief, GaBi Journal
Disclosure of Conflict of Interest Statement is available upon request.
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