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The University of Chicago Medicine - Comer Children's Hospital


The University of Chicago Medicine is one of the world leaders in transplant research. Did you know. . . ?

  • Organ transplantation began at the University of Chicago. A University of Chicago doctor performed the first animal heart transplant nearly a century ago, which earned him the Nobel Prize.
  • At the University of Chicago Medicine, doctors performed the first segmental ("reduced size") liver transplant in the United States, the first split-liver transplant in the United States, and the first successful living-donor transplant in the world.
  • Our physicians have pioneered new ways to match donor kidneys with recipients. These techniques are now being adopted all over the country.

Through our clinical trials, our doctors continue to develop new techniques to make these treatments even safer and more effective in children.

Here are some of the research projects currently under way:

  • We frequently participate in important clinical trials of new treatments. For example, research at the University of Chicago on the monoclonal antibody OKT3 contributed to the drug's acceptance by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. OKT3, which combats transplant rejection and dramatically improves graft survival rates, was used here for kidney transplant long before it was available at other hospitals.
  • We remain at the forefront of developing immunosuppressive therapies. We are studying ways to create organ tolerance through strategies such as implanting additional sources of donor cells (such as bone fragments) that help to stabilize a recipient's immune system. We also use new techniques for matching donor kidneys with recipients, including the use of a highly sensitive fluorescence activated cell sorter. This machine uses advanced technology to help ensure a good match between a donor and recipient. Very few centers provide this level of matching.
  • Our doctors have been working with other groups around the country to develop a device that will preserve organs for transplant without the need to "ice" them. This may help extend the precious hours before a transplant and minimize damage to the organ.