White House announces $200M in organ donation research investments

In an effort to reduce the waiting list for organ donation, the administration of President Barack Obama announced several new actions at a White House summit June 13.

The majority of the $200 million in research investments will be available through an effort at the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). The $160 million public-private investment will focus on developing new manufacturing techniques to replace and repair cells and tissues, which may lead to organ replacement.

Among the other awards announced by the White House:

·         $15 million from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to improving outcomes after lung transplantation

·         $7 million from the American Society of Nephrology for a potential Kidney Disease XPRIZE

·         $4.2 million from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation to “test donor interventions that maximize the quantity and quality of life-saving organs that each donor is able to give”

Beyond research funding, companies like Facebook and Twitter will launch advocacy campaigns to make it easier to become an organ donor, with the goal of registering 1 million new donors.

The White House said moving organ donation registration away from relying solely on states’ motor vehicles departments could close a large gap between the 95 percent of Americans who support organ donation and the roughly 50 percent who are actually registered donors.

Some of the efforts also hinge on advances in health IT. More than 30 transplant centers announced they’ll collaborate on a kidney transplant data-sharing initiative, and the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) said it would increase efficiency in its systems for will increase efficiencies in the organ procurement through new and open technology.