St Louis Today | Blythe BernhardPhoto: Dr. Stuart Sweet directs the lung transplant program at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. He was recently elected to serve a two-year term as secretary of the United Network for Organ Sharing, the national organization overseeing transplantation.
Pediatric pulmonologist Dr. Stuart Sweet directs the lung transplant program at St. Louis Children's Hospital, where he evaluates and follows the 15 to 20 children each year who get new lungs at the hospital. Sweet was recently elected to serve a two-year term as secretary of the United Network for Organ Sharing, the national organization overseeing transplantation.
Q. How did you first get involved with the network?
A. In 2004 they were starting to talk about revising lung allocation policies. I got involved by writing them a letter telling them you need to consider children, and they said we'd love to have you join our committee and talk about it. Since then I've had a variety of different roles and was on the board for a couple years.
Q. What do you think about Facebook allowing people to identify themselves as organ donors?
A. Anything we can do to increase awareness of organ donation and make it clearer for people to express their wishes ... and ideally have those wishes become paramount over the wishes of the family members left behind is a step in the right direction and can help people who die tragically give a gift.
Q. Do you think transplanting stem cells as well as organs from the donor can replace anti-rejection drugs that suppress the immune system?
A. When you transplant stem cells from the donor at the same time, the idea is that you fool the recipient's immune system into believing the donor organs are your own. There is some evidence that you can make this work, but it is still challenging to try and put it all together. I hope in my lifetime I see a day where I don't have to give the very toxic immunosuppressive drugs that we have to give today. It's not right around the block.
Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/health-med-fit/fitness/area-doctor-takes-post-in-national-lung-transplant-group/article_9a8f54ef-7617-5123-b8b3-3933f68cea58.html#ixzz1vjTI1LZ2