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Coronavirus pressures ‘put organ transplants at risk’

Coronavirus pressures ‘put organ transplants at risk’

Health
The UK's organ transplant network could be forced to shut down as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, the body that runs the scheme is warning. One factor is the pressure on intensive care beds, according to NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT).But there is also the risk to transplant patients, who have their immune systems suppressed so their bodies don't reject new organs.Since the beginning of March the number of transplants has fallen dramatically.This time last year more than 80 transplants were being carried out each week in the UK. But now just a handful of the most urgent cases - mainly heart and liver - are going ahead. Pressure on intensive careProf John Forsyth, medical director for transplant and organ donation at NHSBT...
Opt-out organ donation 'in place by 2020' for England

Opt-out organ donation 'in place by 2020' for England

Health
A new opt-out system for organ donation will be in place by 2020 in England, if Parliament approves "Max's Law".Under the plans detailed by ministers, adults will be presumed to be organ donors unless they have specifically recorded their decision not to be. The government said it would save up to 700 lives each year.In the UK in 2017, 411 people died before the right donor was found, and more than 5,000 people are currently on the waiting list in England.A similar opt-out system has been in place in Wales since 2015. Scotland plans to introduce a similar scheme and Northern Ireland has also expressed an interest. "Max's Law" is named after Max Johnson, from Cheshire, who was saved by a heart transplant.His search for a suitable heart was followed in a s...
Organ donation campaigner, 18, in New Year Honours

Organ donation campaigner, 18, in New Year Honours

Health
Media playback is unsupported on your deviceLucia Mee has been awarded a British Empire Medal for her work raising awareness of organ donation.The 18-year-old, from Ballycastle in Northern Ireland, who has had three liver transplants - the first aged eight - is the youngest person on the New Year Honours list.She campaigns for organ donation to be taught in schools and for everyone to sign the organ donation register.She previously told the BBC that each new organ was "a gift".Miss Mee was diagnosed with auto immune hepatitis when she was young and told she needed a new liver.However, two transplant surgeries in 2007 and 2009 ended in her body rejecting the new organs and she received her third new liver when she was 16.'Education and conversation'"For me, it has always been a special thin...
David Cassidy in hospital after organ failure

David Cassidy in hospital after organ failure

Entertainment
Former teen idol David Cassidy is in hospital after reportedly suffering organ failure.The US actor and singer, 67, is "conscious and surrounded by family" after being rushed to hospital in Florida earlier this week, his spokeswoman said.He had been in an induced coma following kidney failure and needs a liver transplant, according to reports.Cassidy revealed earlier this year he was battling dementia after video emerged of him performing erratically in California.Image:David Cassidy performing in Nashville in 2012He forgot the words to some of his own songs and yelled at a fan to turn off a light that he claimed was blinding him.Cassidy later told People magazine he had been in "denial" about his illness and he had decided to stop touring, saying he wanted to "enjoy life".Cassidy shot to ...
GM pigs take step to being organ donors

GM pigs take step to being organ donors

Health
The most genetically modified animals in existence have been created to help end a shortage of organs for transplant, say US researchers. The scientists successfully rid 37 pigs of viruses hiding in their DNA, overcoming one of the big barriers to transplanting pig organs to people.The team at eGenesis admits preventing pig organs from being rejected by the human body remains a huge challenge But experts said it was a promising and exciting first step. The study, published in the journal Science, started with skin cells from a pig.Tests identified 25 Pervs - porcine endogenous retroviruses - hidden in the pig's genetic code.Experiments mixing human and pig cells together showed those viruses could escape to infect human tissues.But the researchers then used the game-changing gene-editing t...