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Research and Clinical Trials

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More on Transplantation Research


Transplantation Research

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Research & Clinical Trials databases

Heart Transplantation

The Heart Failure and Transplantation Program at NewYork-Presbyterian continues to advance treatments for heart failure and transplantation. Ongoing areas of research include:

  • Left Ventricular Assist Devices (LVAD): Hospital researchers are participating in a $17 million NIH-funded study (SCCOR) investigating the most significant challenges associated with the use of LVADs – infection, coagulation, and neurological events. In one arm of this trial doctors are studying stem cell therapy combined with LVADs as a way to speed the recovery of the native heart.
  • Targeted therapies: Several studies, including the CUPID gene therapy trial, are under way to develop targeted therapies for heart failure and pulmonary hypertension.
  • Other trials in process are designed to: improve treatments for heart valve diseases and atrial fibrillation, enhance surgical outcomes for newborns undergoing heart surgery, and identify genetic factors associated with aortic aneurysms.
New York-Presbyterian Transplant Brochure
Organ Transplant
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Intestinal and Multivisceral Transplantation

Surgeons initially developed intestinal and multivisceral transplantation (transplantation of several organs – the stomach, pancreas, liver and small intestine – at the same time) to treat patients with short bowel syndrome or life-threatening complications associated with total parenteral nutrition and liver failure.

In the last several years NewYork-Presbyterian physician-researchers have expanded the use of this approach to treat patients with deeply embedded tumors that involve the blood vessels supplying the major abdominal organs. This advance has saved the lives of patients with no other treatment options.

The Hospital's research plans include trials to investigate:

  • the most effective use of this approach in cancer patients and
  • ways to induce immune tolerance after transplantation.

Kidney Transplantation

Researchers in the Hospital's kidney transplant program are working to improve transplant and expand their availability to more patients. In particular they are:

  • developing ways to overcome immunologic incompatibilities in transplant recipients by optimizing paired kidney exchanges and improving immunosuppressant protocols.
  • testing the feasibility of minimally invasive techniques in recipients using smaller surgical incisions and laparoscopic operations. (At this time, all donor operations are done laparoscopically).

Other efforts include:

  • investigation into live donor risk,
  • research to further reduce the already low risk of hemorrhagic complications in donors,
  • and ways to expand the profile of suitable donors.

More information
For more information on kidney transplantation research please visit:

Liver Transplantation

The Center for Liver Disease and Transplantation is a major center for the study of outcomes for liver disease treatment and liver transplantation. Doctors here participate in more than forty trials at any given time, including government and industry funded studies, so Center patients can receive treatments that are unavailable at most other centers. Research at the Center's includes studies to:

  • address hepatitis C, the leading cause for transplantation and a major cause of organ failure after transplantation,
  • investigate the outcomes of living donor liver transplantation. The Center is a leader in the multi-center Adult to Adult Living-Donor Liver Transplant (A2ALL) study, a NIH-sponsored trial of these outcomes,
  • develop a bioartificial liver assist device for patients with acute or chronic liver failure,
  • assess non-invasive markers to detect inflammatory activity in patients with chronic hepatitis B,
  • and advance techniques in machine preservation of liver grafts for transplantation.

More information
More information on liver transplantation research is available at the Columbia University Medical Center web site.

Lung Transplantation

Through laboratory research and participation in multi-center trials, the Center for Lung Disease and Transplantation continues to improve quality of life and survival of patients. Research here is focused on patients with:

  • Emphysema
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis
  • Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension
  • Cystic Fibrosis

The Center is a national leader in addressing the most significant risks to lung transplantation patients: rejection of the donor organ and infections.

Research at NewYork-Presbyterian has revealed the important role of gastro-esophageal reflux (GER) as one of the causes of chronic rejection; GER slowly and steadily undermines the health of over half of lung transplant recipients during the first five years after transplantation.

New Immune Surveillance Techniques

Doctors here are testing new immunological surveillance techniques that enable them to diagnose more subtle forms of rejection earlier than ever before. This research could ultimately improve transplant patients' quality and length of life.

Pulmonary Thromboendartectomy

Physicians at the program have developed innovative techniques that allow them to perform complex pulmonary thromboendartectomy (PTE) surgery on patients with pulmonary emboli, life-threatening blood clots in the pulmonary arteries. This approach helps avoid the need for lung transplantation.

Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO)

Doctors here have begun using extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) technology as both a bridge to transplant and a bridge to recovery, providing support for patients with H1N1 influenza, pulmonary fibrosis, COPD, cystic fibrosis, and pneumonia. This creative way of sustaining children and adults with heart or lung disease with ECMO allows more patients to progress to transplantation. By adapting ECMO technology researchers here have enabled patients to remain mobile, helping them preserve their strength and health before surgery.

More information
More information on lung transplantation research is available on the Columbia University Lung Transplant list.

Pancreas Transplantation

Physicians here are researching ways to promote immunologic tolerance in pancreas transplant recipients, working towards the goal of complete freedom from immunosuppressant medications after transplantation. With gene-based therapies and steroid-avoidance protocols already in place, patients receive highly personalized immunosuppressant therapies that permit them to take lower doses of steroids or to avoid them altogether.

Islet Cell Transplantation

Transplantation of pancreatic islet cells into patients with type 1 diabetes offers the possibility of reversing the disease without the need for the major surgery entailed in pancreas transplantation. Doctors in the Hospital's pancreas transplant program have a long history of work in islet cell transplantation: one group here has been involved in this field since 1976. Researchers here are investigating many aspects of islet cell transplantation, including ways to eliminate the need for immunosuppressant medications and to optimize islet isolation and improve post-transplant function.

NewYork-Presbyterian is one of ten regional islet resource centers in the U.S. that isolate and transplant islet cells to treat type 1 diabetes as part of a limited FDA protocol. The team is currently investigating a new method of islet cell transplantation by impregnating the cells into pretreated, non-reactive scaffolds, along with agents to attract blood vessels and repel rejecting cells. In animal models when these treated scaffolds are placed into abdominal muscles and injected with pancreatic islets, experimentally induced diabetes is reversed.

More information
More information on pancreas transplantation research is available at the Columbia University Medical Center and Weill Cornell Medical College web sites.

Contact Information

For more information, please contact the department that handles the organ. Select an organ from the menu on the left side of this page (for example, "Liver Transplant") and look at the bottom of that page. Contact information is located there.

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