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Baylor's transplant program was established in 1984. Today it is one of the nation's top transplant programs. Since its inception, the transplant centers have performed more than 8,000 solid organ transplants, including liver, kidney, pancreas, heart and lung transplants. Physicians currently participate in more than 125 research protocols and, through Baylor's transplant research program, many of the researched drugs now are used as standard therapy. Baylor also offers transplant patients organ-specific support groups and furnished apartments, known as the Twice Blessed House, at a nominal fee for short and long-term stays. With a continued focus on medical education, surgeons on staff at Baylor have trained more than 35 transplant fellows who now lead transplant programs around the world. Baylor's training program for liver and kidney transplantation is approved by the American Society of Transplant Surgeons. Baylor Annette C. and Harold C. Simmons Transplant Institute is the integration of transplant services at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas and Baylor All Saints Medical Center at Fort Worth.
Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas
Baylor Dallas performs all types of abdominal transplants, most frequently liver, kidney and pancreas transplants, as well as combined kidney/pancreas transplants, split liver transplants and living donor transplants. Baylor performs the third largest volume of adult liver transplants in the nation.
The Baylor University Medical Center Heart Transplant Program performs heart, heart/lung and heart/kidney transplants at Baylor Dallas. Baylor utilizes advanced technology in ventricular assist devices as a bridge to transplant and destination therapy for critically ill heart patients. Baylor continues to grow its clinical research program and review protocols that improve treatment for its patients. One-year survival rates for heart transplant patients exceed the national average as published by UNOS.
Baylor’s islet cell transplant program is growing in terms of the breadth and depth of the science, as well as in geography. Baylor offers participation in islet cell transplantation research trials at Baylor Dallas and Baylor Fort Worth. Baylor is the first islet cell transplant research program for diabetes in the southwestern United States. Baylor’s islet cell transplant program includes both allo islet cell (for patients with type 1 juvenile diabetes) and auto islet cell (for patients with chronic pancreatitis).
Investigators at Baylor are studying the manipulation of immune system functions to improve the acceptance of transplanted organs. Maintaining a fine balance when suppressing the immune system is critical. The body must control organ rejection yet still fight illness and disease. By reducing rejection and developing better and safer techniques to fight rejection, organs may last longer, quality of life for the recipient may improve and the high cost of transplantation may decrease. Investigators also hope to precondition a potential organ recipient to fully tolerate the transplanted organ before it is surgically placed in the recipient's body.
To recognize which patients have developed immunotolerance, Baylor scientists are utilizing microarray technology, which was developed through Baylor's research on cancer and autoimmunity. Using a single drop of blood from a patient, the microarray machine scans 50,000 different genes and shows their activity. Baylor scientists have identified different patterns or signatures that correspond to specific disease processes, infections and allergic responses. Through microarrays, scientists may be able to identify infections before they develop, recognize certain cancers before symptoms arise and determine whether a patient is rejecting a transplanted organ or is tolerating it. This may enable scientists to identify those patients who will probably not need immunosuppressive drugs.
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