Organ transplantation has attained adulthood. For many years, it was considered a treatment in the absence of any alternative or a treatment of last resort, involving the terrifying privilege of offering possible survival to patients whose condition was so
severe as to condemn them to certain death – heart transplantation in particular – or to a lifetime of replacement therapy for a defective organ – dialysis in patients with renal failure.
Offering a patient an “organ graft”, to use the lay terminology, was rather like a game of “Russian roulette” for the patients concerned. Moreover, the spirit of sacrifice of an organ donation involved considerable ambiguity: the organ donor feeling
exalted by his generosity and altruism, whereas the family of a deceased patient often tended to oppose donations which were viewed as mutilation and as evidence of a lack of respect for the corpse of the beloved.
Fortunately, the situation has progressed and although the problem of organ donations is still, alas, a topical one, the technique of kidney, heart and liver transplantations is now fully mastered and the indication has become commonplace. It is for this reason that the scientific council of the Servier Institute decided, in a necessarily draconian choice, not to include the study of these three organs in the subject of Current Topics and Future Prospects in Transplantation so as not to prolong unnecessarily a conference that already extends over a day and a half.