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Focus On Quality of Life Issues for Organ Transplant Patients

Comprehensive Transplant Center will explore research in kidney, liver, pancreas, heart, bone marrow and stem cell transplants

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October 26, 2009 | by Marla Paul

CHICAGO -- The thousands of people affected by organ failure -- and their family and friends  -- wonder what the medical future holds for them. What are the latest research advances that may benefit them and future generations?

Northwestern University's new Comprehensive Transplant Center may have the answers to those questions.

Research at the center, a partnership between Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine and the Kovler Organ Transplantation Center at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, will focus on improving the quality of life and outcomes for patients with organ transplantation as well as extending the life of their organs. The scope of the research will be on transplants of the kidney, liver, pancreas, heart, bone marrow and stem cells.

"This center will accelerate our progress and have a strong impact on how we deliver medical care for adult and pediatric transplant patients today and in the future," said Dixon Kaufman, M.D., the deputy director of the new transplant center and the director of pancreas and islet transplantation at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Michael Abecassis, M.D., director of the transplant center, noted, "It will stimulate new collaborations not just at Northwestern but also between the various academic centers in Chicago and nationwide." Abecassis also is the J. Roscoe Miller Distinguished Professor in surgery and microbiology/immunology at the Feinberg School and chief of transplantation at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Some of the causes of organ failure -- diabetes, hypertension and fatty liver disease -- are on the rise. "This is a critical time to push ahead for new discoveries in transplant research," Abecassis said.