Transplantation Medicine

Giving Highlight: Transplantation Research & Care

Saving lives through organ transplantation research and care is a daily commitment at Columbia University Medical Center—a longtime leader in transplantation science and innovation. Among our achievements is the first successful pediatric heart transplant; development of novel approaches to liver transplantation and refinement of multivisceral transplantation; the first kidney paired exchanges in New York; and multi-organ, abdominal surgery. Through the dedication of our clinician-scientists to excellence in patient care and research, CUMC continues to advance this critical field.

In 2007, Columbia further galvanized its diverse expertise and resources by establishing the Transplantation Initiative, which builds upon the efforts of more than 300 specialists to optimize clinical quality, improve organizational functions, and expand the science of transplantation across organ systems. Renowned specialists in heart, lung, liver, and kidney transplantation handle a full spectrum of care for patients with end-stage organ failure. Among its priorities is to maintain the health and quality of life for patients waiting for organs while also improving access to donor organs.

Columbia’s scientists are at the forefront of developing medical and immunological techniques to utilize suboptimal organs. In kidney transplantation, Columbia surgeons have pioneered a number of ways to augment organ availability, including living donation; removal of antibodies to overcome immunological incompatibilities between a donor organ and recipient; and kidney swap operations involving multiple donors and recipients.

Columbia physician-scientists are also pursuing novel approaches to address some of the most pressing challenges to successful organ transplantation. Professor Megan Sykes is pioneering research on inducing tolerance, which may help address organ shortage and eliminate the need for transplant patients to take antirejection drugs for the rest of their lives. Others have advanced the surgical, medical, and ethical principles that make it possible to use part of a liver from a living donor, rather than relying on the limited number of deceased donor livers for transplantation. The Columbia Center for Translational Immunology exemplifies the kind of multidisciplinary research at the Medical Center that aims to deliver advances from the laboratory to the clinic.

A priority for Columbia University Medical Center is the recruitment of extraordinary faculty who will move the field of transplant medicine into the future. With several new physician-scientists who have joined veteran members of our program, Columbia is investing in innovation that will transform the future of transplant medicine. Because time is a precious resource for individuals in need of transplantation, our faculty undertakes the very research that helps save and prolong lives—delivering proven breakthroughs to directly benefit patients.

With generous support from friends and supporters, Columbia remains a premier destination for comprehensive transplant patient care and innovative research.

For more information about transplantation services at Columbia University Medical Center, please contact Jamie Gutter, Director of Development, at jwg2131@columbia.edu or (212) 342-1580.