organ transplantation logoSince its inception in 1977 the Division of Immunology and Organ Transplantation in the Department of Surgery has been a local and national leader in organ transplantation. Recognizing transplantation’s unique opportunities for intra-disciplinary collaboration, a new era has begun at UTHealth with the creation of the Center for Abdominal Organ Transplantation and Regenerative Medicine.

Heralding a unique and forward-thinking change in academic medicine, this new multi-specialty center brings together transplant specialists from surgery, nephrology, and hepatology into one center to maximize patient care, education, and research.

“The creation of the Abdominal Transplant Center is in keeping with the current ideas of transforming the delivery of healthcare in patients with end-stage organ failure,” said Dr. Steve Bynon, director of the center. “The center is the first step in developing an Integrated Practice Unit within the Memorial Hermann Health System and UTHealth devoted to the management of patients with disease states in which organ and cell transplantation will improve both short- and long-term outcomes.”

Offering kidney, kidney/pancreas, pancreas, and liver transplantation to adults and children, the center’s faculty includes surgeons from the previous Division of Immunology and Organ Transplantation as well as two nephrologists from the Department of Internal Medicine. Additionally, four transplant hepatologists will be closely aligned with the center for all transplant-related activities. All center faculty will have cross-appointments in both surgery and internal medicine.

“Organ transplantation is likely the most collaborative process in medicine,” said Dr. Richard Andrassy, chair of the Department of Surgery, and holder of the Denton A. Cooley, MD Chair of Surgery, the Jack H. Mayfield, MD Distinguished University Chair, and the Dr. Thomas D. Cronin Chair Plastic Surgery. “This unique and comprehensive structure just makes sense.”

“Our Internal Medicine specialists are proud to be a part of such a dynamic team, allowing all disciplines of medicine to improve patient care and outcomes of transplant patients,” said Dr. David McPherson, chair of the Department of Internal Medicine and holder of the James T. and Nancy B. Willerson Chair.

The organ transplant program is based at Memorial Hermann-TMC. The UT-MH program has performed more than 3,000 transplants, including the first liver transplant in Houston in 1985. The program is nationally recognized as a leader in immunosupression research, pioneering the clinical use of the medications cyclosporine and rapamycin.

“An integrated transplant center is a hallmark of the future of academic medicine,” Dean Giuseppe Colasurdo said. “This program, under the leadership of Dr. Steve Bynon, will bring together all of the disciplines needed to achieve the best possible outcomes in a new organizational structure. Collectively, these changes will allow this center to further its national recognition.”

The 70-person transplant team at Memorial Hermann-TMC includes three UTHealth transplant surgeons in addition to specialists from nephrology, gastroenterology and hepatology, pediatric nephrology, and pediatric hepatology.

“This is a multidisciplinary center, and a team approach is essential in order to provide the most expert and comprehensive care to our patients,” said Craig Cordola, CEO of Memorial Hermann-TMC.

-Darla Brown, Office of Communications, Medical School