Trust Grants Support Transplantation Programs at Emory University
Access to Transplant Care Project and Pediatric Cornea Transplant
Program Receive Grants
Two new grants
to Emory University's Woodruff Health Sciences Center from the Carlos
and Marguerite Mason Trust will help ensure access to care for Georgia
patients in need of transplantation. Wachovia Bank, trustee of the Mason
Trust, has awarded the Emory Transplant Center a two-year grant of $1
million in support of the Access to Transplant Care Project, and the
Emory Eye Center bridge funding for its Pediatric Cornea Transplant
The Emory Transplant Center's
Access to Transplant Care Project was originally funded by the Mason
Trust in June 2000 to ensure access to care for financially disadvantaged
Georgians and to support evaluation and treatment of those patients
referred to Emory for transplantation. It included four initiatives:
access to transplantation; community/professional education; legislative
awareness; and philanthropic endeavors.
The new $1 million award
will build on the existing Transplant Access Program by providing even
greater access to care and enhanced services throughout the entire transplant
process, including pre-transplant, transplant and post-transplant phases.
In addition, the program will focus on increasing the number of living
donor transplants at Emory, which would increase the supply of donor
organs and the accessibility of transplants for more patients.
"Unlike any other medical
area, transplantation requires a lifetime commitment on behalf of transplant
patients, the medical institution, transplant faculty and staff," explains
Christian P. Larsen, M.D., D.Phil., the Carlos and Marguerite Mason
Professor of Surgery and director of the Emory Transplant Center. "This
commitment creates a major responsibility for medical institutions to
provide efficient and effective transplant services and to make certain
that individuals are well prepared and informed, from both a medical
and financial perspective, as they enter into this commitment," he says.
Transplant patients must
absorb an overwhelming amount of information, and the access to care
program allows Emory to provide enhanced patient orientation and consultations
with physicians, nurse coordinators, social workers and nutritionists
to help the patient understand what to expect and what is expected of
them. Three important new areas of support, designed to improve transplant
outcomes, include enhanced financial education, designated living donor
coordinators and outreach coordinators.
"One of the greatest barriers
to transplantation today is the availability of organs," Dr. Larsen
explained. "Living donation provides a method of increasing the supply
of donor organs, making transplantation available to more Georgians.
But living donor transplantation is time intensive due to the evaluation,
surgical and post-operative care for both the donor and the recipient,
and requires more resources."
The $118,000 bridge funding
grant from the Mason Trust for corneal transplantation will enable the
Emory Eye Center to continue supporting the care of children in need
of transplants. Cornea transplants are the most common form of transplant,
and because of the new techniques and drugs developed over the last
four decades, this surgery has a very high success rate. Emory Eye Center's
pediatric cornea transplant program is the only such program in Georgia.
Unfortunately, cornea transplants
are among the most difficult cases to manage in children. And, although
the follow-up care is very difficult and is as important in children
as the surgery itself, insurance rarely pays for this follow-up care.
Emory Eye Center has had an acute need for funding to bridge the gap
to enable the much-needed program to continue.
"We are so pleased that Emory's
Pediatric Cornea Transplant Program has been recognized and deemed worthy
by the Mason Trust," said Emory pediatric ophthalmologist Arlene Drack,
M.D., who performs follow-up vision rehabilitation, teaching babies
and young children to "see" with their newly repaired eye. "On behalf
of numerous children and their families, I am supremely grateful for
this grant," Dr. Drack said.
Emory's program in organ
transplantation is the most comprehensive in the State of Georgia, and
includes heart, liver, lung, kidney, kidney-pancreas, bone marrow and
cornea. During the past ten years more than 3,000 patients have received
transplanted organs at Emory. The program is highly regarded for combining
state-of-the-art patient care, innovative research, and patient and
Emory's transplant program
has been significantly enhanced by support from the Mason Trust a
private foundation created by the estate of Mrs. Marguerite Fugazzi
Mason in the loving memory of her husband, Carlos Mason. Grants from
the Mason Trust are awarded to Georgia non-profit organizations to improve
the care of Georgians receiving organ transplants and to improve the
process of organ transplantation.
Support from the Mason Trust
helped create the Carlos and Marguerite Mason Chair in Transplantation
Biology at Emory and supported the establishment of the Emory Transplant
Center in 1998. Since 1995, the Mason Trust has funded basic and clinical
research at Emory in transplantation biology, including the development
of a strategy that would promote acceptance of organ transplants without
the need for long-term immune suppression true immune tolerance. This
research, led by Dr. Larsen and by transplant surgeon Thomas Pearson,
M.D., D.Phil., Livingston Professor of Surgery, and their colleagues,
is critical to the success of organ transplantation, since the medications
that transplant patients must take for their entire lives leave them
vulnerable to infections and other complications.
"The Mason Trust has made
an extraordinary investment in helping Georgians receive needed transplants
and in assuring a better quality of life for these patients," said Dr.
Larsen."I am excited by the prospect of having a major impact on improving
the accessibility of transplant care and services offered at the Emory
Transplant Center to patients throughout the State of Georgia who have
multiple forms of end-stage organ failure."