Feature Stories

Astellas supports the transplantation journey every step of the way

Aug 25, 2016

Organ donation is a complicated and emotional topic for patients and their loved ones. From the physical and emotional demands put on both the recipient and donor, the transplantation process is often a long and difficult journey. However, with advances in technology, education and treatment, patients and caregivers now, more than ever, have the resources they need to better understand organ donation and its life-saving potential. 

At Astellas, we are proud to be a leader in transplantation with a focus on research and development, patient support and immunology awareness, all in an effort to improve outcomes. It’s through the work of our employees such as Jason Schwartz, medical director, Transplant and Immunology, and Steven Tahmooressi, assistant marketing director, Hospital and Transplant, that we are able to continue making a difference in the lives of patients and caregivers managing the challenges of transplantation.

“We are changing the transplantation journey by focusing on the many unmet clinical needs of recipients and their donors. The most pressing of these is the need to improve long-term patient and graft survival. We also seek to raise awareness of the need to improve long-term transplant outcomes by calling attention to the requirement for improved adherence to prescribed medications, developing individualized immunosuppression programs,  preventing recurrent renal disease as well as certain viral diseases after transplantation, and stressing the importance of physical activity post-transplant,” said Schwartz.

“For over 20 years, Astellas has been committed to improving patient lives through the development of life-saving medicines in partnership with leaders in transplantation,” said Tahmooressi. “This commitment is demonstrated by assisting patients throughout their life-long journey with the gift they received. With the world of healthcare changing at a significant pace, we remain closely connected to our customers and transplant coordinators to understand issues affecting their patients and by brainstorming solutions that address unmet needs.”

Working hand-in-hand with patient advocacy organizations is also critical to our work in the transplant space and allows us to put the voice of the recipient at the center of our efforts. We have hosted events such as the Astellas Annual Patient Advocacy Summit to bring broad representation from the patient advocacy community together with leaders in pharma, academia, government, and related fields to have a candid conversation on ways we can better integrate the voice of the patient.

Among the several initiatives that underscore Astellas’ commitment to working effectively with transplant patient groups in areas such as research, education, and awareness are:

Fit for Life

Working with the World Transplant Games Federation, Astellas supports this multi-year global effort to ensure that transplant recipients understand the importance of sustained physical activity and have tools to help develop – and stick to – a personalized fitness plan.

Chris Klug Foundation

In partnership with the Chris Klug Foundation (CKF), Astellas announced its sponsorship of the third annual Bounce Back Awards, which recognizes two transplant recipients who exhibit a great post-transplant quality of life, whether it is a career accomplishment, participation in a sport or hobby, or simply leading a fulfilling life with family and loved ones.

Patient Centered Medical Home Transplant – Global Liver Institute

Due to the complexities of care and management for liver transplant recipients, Astellas is collaborating with the Global Liver Institute to launch a model Patient-Centered Medical Home and Survivorship Program. The program will focus on better quality care and coordination, patient-clinician collaboration and elevated awareness to improve the quality of life for recipients. The program, which was just recognized during The White House Organ Summit on June 13, will begin in August in coordination with the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Sibley Innovation Hub in Washington, D.C.

Donate Life Transplant Games of America

Astellas recently sponsored the Donate Life Transplant Games of America, which allowed life-saving organ donation recipients to highlight their physical accomplishments post- transplant. Living donors and donor families were also honored at a special ceremony supported by Astellas called the Transplant Games of America Honors Program. The competitions were held from June 10-15, 2016, in Cleveland, Ohio, and were open to living donors, organ transplant recipients, bone barrow, corneal, and tissue transplant recipients.

While the transplantation journey can be long and uncertain, we’re proud to walk hand-in-hand with patients, donors, and family members every step of the way. Our tireless research and development efforts and advocacy for transplant awareness are just a few ways we honor our long-standing commitment to this community.