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The organization that arranged the transplant, the New York Organ Donor Network, referred inquiries on Thursday to a national transplant group, the United Network for Organ Sharing, that declined comment.
With no medical literature available on uterine cancer being transmitted by transplant, Diflo testified that he told Liew the safest plan was removing the kidney, but that the odds of Liew developing the cancer were slight.
In dueling testimony from cancer specialists, the two sides have disputed whether it was indeed uterine cancer that killed Liew, though both acknowledge the malignancy derived from the transplant and caused his death.
A cancer expert who reviewed Liew's records and testified for NYU, Dr. Jeffrey Schneider of Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, said Thursday he believed Liew suffered from a type of immune-system cancer that sometimes afflicts transplant patients.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 1 percent of U.S. organ transplants are suspected of transmitting illnesses, though data are sparse.
Some 23 transplant recipients in 2007 -- out of about 28,000 recipients nationwide that year -- were judged to have at least possibly contracted cancers, HIV, tuberculosis and other diseases from their donors, according to a 2009 article in the American Journal of Transplantation. Twelve of the recipients died, according to the article, which examined reports made to the national Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network.
Potential donors are screened for various diseases, and those with active cancers generally are eliminated from consideration. But some cancers and other diseases can't always be detected in the short time frame transplants require, usually within a day, said Dr. Jeffrey D. Punch, the University of Michigan Health Systems' transplant chief.
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