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Newsletter no. 2, August 2013

Dear Working Group members,

The spring and early summer of 2013 has been a very active period for the Descartes working group with exciting development in many areas of interest for the group members. A high degree of attendance and activity from the group members has been, and will be needed to support this development.  The work done by the Descartes Board is by no means confined to board meetings but is an on-going and dynamic process. The major part of the work is conveyed via electronic media, i.e. e-mail, telephone conferences etc. Thus, information to the working group members beside minutes from board meetings is necessary. We hope that this newsletter will give you a quick overview of what has been achieved, and what is on the agenda in the very near future.

Membership status
Since the first newsletter in February 2013, the number of ordinary members of the Descartes working group has increased to 393.
Cooperation between Descartes and the ESOT Kidney Committee
The Descartes working group and the ESOT kidney Committee
(http://www.esot.org/OrganizationChart/KidneyCommittee.aspx) had a two day meeting in Fulpmes (Austria) March 7-8, 2013. The discussions were very open and fruitful and a major statement from the meeting was that both groups were in favour of a close collaboration with the ultimate scope of becoming the joint leading network for research and educational activities in Europe for kidney transplantations.  Providing the medical community guidance on the treatment of patients and standards of healthcare as well as pushing the authorities allot more funding on research in the field of transplantation was seen as other goal that could be achieved by the collaboration. Relating to research, the trial in the elderly (see later) was presented by to the ESOT Kidney committee by Descartes and it was decided to continue this as a joint venture between the two groups. The ESOT kidney committee presented an update on the HESPERIS course and it was decided to investigate if it will be possible to make this a common task in the future.
ERBP guideline on transplantation
European Renal Best Practice (ERBP) under the auspices of ERA-EDTA has prepared guidelines concerning the evaluation and preparation of donor and recipient of a kidney transplant, in the pre-transplant and peri-operative period. During the spring of 2013 members of ERA-EDTA as well as members of the Descartes working group were invited to review these guidelines. A total of 675 responded and the guidelines have now been finalized and are to be published in the August issue of NDT. The Descartes Board wishes to thank all Descartes working group members participating in the review process for their valuable collaboration.
Scientific initiatives
The Descartes initiative on a pan-European trial on optimizing the immunosuppressive therapy after kidney transplantation in the elderly was conceived in the autumn of 2012. Since then the development has been very fast.  As already mentioned the study is now proceeding as a joint venture with the ESOT Kidney Committee. A major obstacle to such a study, the funding, seems to be manageable as the study synopsis has received very good review from major potential sponsors. At present Descartes is funding the writing of the detailed protocol, and the more detailed planning of logistic and economical aspects of the study is on-going.
The Descartes initiative on operational tolerance starting with a survey in European centres is proceeding as planned. The first step was to approach the group from Nantes (Sophie Brouard and Magali Giral) well known for their research in this field. This approach has been successful, and the study is now proceeding as a joint Descartes/Nantes initiative. At present work is done to launch a survey to define the prevalence of tolerant and nearly tolerant patients across Europe. The intention is that this mapping can be the basis for further investigations based on biological material from these patients.
Centre for Evidence in Transplantation (CET)
The CET has now formally been endorsed by Descartes and all members should have received an e-mail relating to this initiative. More on CET can be found on www.transplantevidence.com/esot.php. The board of Descartes hopes that the members will make use of this offer when appropriate.
Educational activities
The ERA-EDTA Istanbul Congress 18th-21st of May 2013 included a full-day Descartes-ESOT CME course with 4 separate sessions (Transplantation in children; How to improve the renal transplant activity in Europe; How to improve long term graft function; Problematic patients in transplantation list: planning the strategy) as well as a joint ESOT-Descartes symposium (Pre-emptive and living kidney transplantation: the way to improve patients outcome?). Both the CME session and the symposium were well attended with an average of approximately 150 participants for each of the 5 sessions.
Upcoming events related to Descartes
During the ESOT Congress in Vienna, 8th-11th of September there will be a joint Descartes-ESOT symposium on Sunday 8th; 9:00-12.50. More information on http://vienna.esot.org/Science/Scientific-Programme2

The 10th Transplant Academy is scheduled for Friday 15th of November in Amsterdam. The Academy carries on a tradition of science focused presentations by a select panel of expert speakers complemented by hands-on interactive workshops. For information on registrations, please contact teva@trevisolutions.eu or call +39 327 9062532.
On the agenda for the board of Descartes
The next ordinary board meeting will take place on Saturday 7th of September in connection to the ESOT Congress in Vienna.

On behalf of the DESCARTES board

Søren Schwartz Sørensen