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Newsletter no. 1, February 2013

Dear Working Group members

This is the first newsletter published by the DESCARTES board and distributed to all DESCARTES members directly and also published on the DESCARTES homepage (http://era-edta.org/DESCARTES/DESCARTES.htm). The intention from the board is to issue newsletters 2-3 times a year plus extra newsletters in case of hot news. The content of the newsletters will be information to members on the work in the board, initiatives from working group members and up-coming events involving DESCARTES or of interest for DESCARTES members. Members are encouraged to visit the homepage regularly as this will contain the most updated information on DESCARTES.

Membership status
The DESCARTES working group was announced by a blast e-mail to all ERA-EDTA members on December 7th 2012. This had an impressing effect and resulted in an immediately increase in the membership number from 10 (i.e. the board members) to an impressing 240. However, ever since this there has been a steady increase in membership numbers now reaching 374 (February 2013). This “post blast” effect is probably attributed to increased awareness of the working group from personal communication between members and potential members. As seen from the figure members are distributed between 55 different countries, European as well as non-European. Although a high number of members is by no mean goal per se for DESCARTES, a high number can be seen as a perfect foundation for an effective working group potentially with a high impact in the transplantation community as well as in the public domain.
Descarter membership
Educational initiatives
On January 26, 2013 the 13th Prague Postgraduate Training Course in Nephrology took place. The course is an ERA-EDTA CME activity. DESCARTES was invited to contribute and organized, chaired and participated in two sessions entitled “Basic principles of immunosuppression and immunomodulation” and “New strategies in transplantation “, respectively. The impression was that the course had a high quality and that the presentations were well received by the participants.
Up-coming DESCARTES activities
For 2013 session endorsed by DESCARTES including CME sessions will be a part of the program for the following congresses

• ERA-EDTA Congress, Istanbul, 18th-21 of May 2013. For detailed information on program go to: http://era-edta2013.inet2.it/en-US/preliminary-scientific-programme
• ESOT Congress , Vienna , 8th-11th of September 2013

Members are encouraged to join the sessions.
Scientific initiatives
The board are presently investigating the possibility for a DESCARTES initiated controlled clinical multicenter trial focusing on optimizing the immunosuppression to elderly transplant patients. This work started just before the board meeting in Vienna, September 2012. The background for such a study is the increasing number of elderly transplant candidates. However, traditionally this segment of the transplant population has only seldom been the focus of clinical trial. This fact is pointed out in a forth coming editorial in the April issue of the journal “Transplantation” where such studies are called for.
Tolerance is the Holy Grail in transplantation. Whether this is possible to accomplish in humans is still elusive, but operational tolerance is known although the number of patients is small. These patients could hold the key to tolerance, and the board plans to identify European kidney transplanted patients with operational tolerance. The goal is that such patients, if sufficient in numbers, could be a source for investigation into tolerance.
ERBP guideline on transplantation
European Renal Best Practice (ERBP) under the auspices of ERA-EDTA has issued a guideline concerning the evaluation and preparation of donor and recipient of a kidney transplant, in the pre-transplant and peri-operative period. At present these guidelines have been sent to all ERA-EDTA members and all DESCARTES members for reviewing before the official publication. DESCARTES members, as persons with special knowledge within the field of transplantation, are encouraged to participate in the review process.
On the agenda for the Board of DESCARTES
On March 6-8 a joint meeting between the Board of DESCARTES and the ESOT kidney group is scheduled. The idea is to identify areas of work where the two committees can join forces to promote the transplantation case within the common framework of Europe and abroad both scientifically but also towards the authorities.
DESCARTES as an active working group
We welcome your suggestions and comments. Please feel free to contact other DESCARTES members and to network with them. DESCARTES will also be happy to help announce/disseminate your own research or educational projects after evaluation by the board.

On behalf of the DESCARTES board

Søren Schwartz Sørensen