Discovering New Therapies Through Research

Researchers at Emory Transplant Center strive to integrate clinical and academic advances, offering extraordinary accomplishments in the field of transplantation. Research conducted by faculty of Emory's Division of Transplantation is done under the auspices of the Transplant Immunology Laboratory, and include programs specific to kidney, pancreas, heart, liver, lung, bone marrow, and composite tissue transplantation.

Many of the lab's efforts are multi-disciplinary and include the following notable projects:

In June 2011, the FDA approved belatacept in the form of the drug Nulojix for kidney transplant recipients, which is the first time a new class of drug has been approved for transplant since the 1990s. Emory surgeon-scientists played a leading role in discovering belatacept and driving its development.

As a part of the Clinical Trials in Organ Transplantation (CTOT) project, the Emory Transplant Immunology Lab is one of a handful of centers that is setting the national agenda for new developments in organ transplantation and drug therapy.

In 2003, the Emory Transplant Center performed the first successful islet transplant in Georgia for a patient with Type 1 diabetes (as of August 2010, Emory transplant surgeons have performed 22 successful islet transplant procedures on 15 patients). The Center continues to receive funding from the JDRF to continue its research.

In March 2011, Emory successfully performed Georgia’s, and the Southeast at large, first complete hand transplant. This puts Emory among only four centers to have successfully performed this procedure in the U.S.

Emory Transplant Center received a bio-defense contract to study protective immunity in transplant recipients. The study will help to develop new strategies for vaccination that can better protect organ transplant recipients and other immune-suppressed patients from infectious disease threats.

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