Media contacts:
Ron Sauder, 404-727-3366,
February 28, 2002


GREAT TEACHERS LECTURE "Rejection, Acceptance, and Tolerance: Progress Toward Islet Transplantation for Diabetes"

Christian P. Larsen, M.D., Ph.D.
Carlos and Marguerite Mason Professor of Surgery in Transplantation
Director, Emory Transplant Center

7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 7, 2002 at the Miller Ward Alumni House, located at 849 Houston Mill Road. It is free, open to the public, and does not require reservations. Call 404-727-6000 for further information.

Emory Transplant Center Director Christian Larsen speaks on two of the most exciting developments in the rapidly changing field of transplantation: treatment of diabetes with islet cell transplantation, and ways to trick the immune system into tolerating transplanted organs and tissues without immunosuppressant drugs.

Dr. Larsen describes the progress, at Emory and elsewhere, of pancreatic islet cell transplantation, which enables people with diabetes to begin producing their own insulin again. He also explains new advances, many made in his own laboratory, in the development of tolerance strategies, the "golden ring" of transplantation medicine.

The miracle of organ transplantation was made possible by the development of medicines to prevent the immune system from recognizing the new organ or tissue as foreign and rejecting it. But daily regimens of immunosuppressant medicines, which must be taken as long as the patient lives, have serious and sometimes devastating drawbacks. The medicines often lose their effectiveness after a certain number of years, so that the body rejects the organ. And these medicines can leave patients highly susceptible to viral and bacterial infections, cancer, and other diseases.

Dr. Larsen is an active surgeon performing kidney and pancreas transplants at Emory, which has one of the region's largest multiple organ and tissue transplant programs. Dr. Larsen also leads an active pre-clinical transplant research program at the Yerkes Primate Research Center. His and Dr. Pearson's research is supported with funds from The Carlos and Marguerite Mason Trust, The Livingstone Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health.

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