Division of Transplant Surgery
Advanced heart, lung, liver, kidney and pancreatic failure account for the majority of deaths in developed nations worldwide. The University of Maryland organ transplant center is one of the largest in the United States, performing more than 400 transplants per year, including 300 kidneys, 80 livers, 20 pancreas and 45 thoracic transplants. The clinical center receives more than 1,500 new patient referrals each year, and follows more than 4,800 patients who have been transplanted over the last two decades, as well as more than 1,400 patients on the organ transplant waiting lists.
Our leaders in the various organ failure areas hold national and international prominence in their fields, and have translated their discoveries into clinical management guidelines. The American Journal of Physiology (Heart and Circulation) and The Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation editorial offices reside at the University of Maryland. We are one of only two transplant centers serving more than 5 million people in Maryland.
The Division of Transplantation has a critical mass of funded investigators and internationally recognized physicians and surgeons focused on management of advanced organ failure. Important program components include:
- cellular and molecular biology and immunology laboratories;
- surgical laboratories;
- perfusion support laboratories;
- large longitudinal clinical databases for organ failure and transplant patients;
- strong clinical pathology with extensive archives and databases;
- state of the art genetic testing and databases;
- expertise in healthcare disparity;
- a large referral base.
The Division maintains a large portfolio of research including:
- investigation of cellular mechanisms of allograft tolerance and rejection;
- xenotransplantation – the transplantation of organs from one species to another;
- investigations of novel immunosuppressive medications and prediction of their effect using personalized medicine and
- composite tissue (Full Face) transplantation – leading to successful completion of the most extensive full transplant to date in the world.
Additional investigations probe the mechanisms of disease leading to chronic organ failure, use bioengineering technology to support failing organs, and translate these discoveries across the international community by supporting patient safety research and creation of management guidelines. University of Maryland’s diverse patient population supports translational research on health care disparity and gender and ethnic variability. Much of this research requires a cross-disciplinary approach across departments, campus-wide schools, other institutions and the general community.
We are a comprehensive center with transplantation capabilities in kidney, pancreas, simultaneous kidney-pancreas, liver, heart and lung. Our multidisciplinary approach provides enormous talent and broad resources of an outstanding academic medical research institution to bring innovative treatments to our patients including:
- Ex Vivo Lung Perfusion Technique – As part of a national clinical trial, our surgeons transplanted the first lungs treated in the United States with an experimental repair process before transplantation.
- In 2009 we became the first in Maryland and only the third in the United States to perform a single-port, natural orifice kidney removal surgery through the navel for a living kidney donor.
- Today, University of Maryland transplant surgeons have performed more Single Incision Laparoscopic Surgeries (SILS) on living donors than in any other center in the nation.
- Combined Heart and Liver Transplant – Our transplant surgeons were the first in Maryland to perform a combined heart and liver transplant. A total of 15 people in two transplant teams participated in this rare combination transplant.
- Domino Liver Transplant – Our surgeons were the first in Maryland to perform a "domino" or sequential liver transplant.
There are many more discoveries on the horizon that have the potential to improve the lives of those needing organ transplantation. The Department of Surgery at the University of Maryland continuously strives to make surgical procedures safer, less invasive and more effective. Our researchers are developing methods that will make a quantum leap in this field.
Grants to support research, while incredibly useful and a clear mark of research excellence, fall far short of supporting the total costs of carrying out a vigorous research program. The Department is in great need of resources to support the infrastructure necessary for its research enterprise, to fill in the funding gaps grants do not cover, and to continue the exploration of new innovative paths of discovery.