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Media Contact: Lance Skelly 23 December 2004
  lance.skelly@emory.edu    
  (404) 686-8538 ((40) 4) -686-8538   Print  | Email ]
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50 years of Transplant: Emory Surgeons Recall State's First Transplant
December 23 marks the 50th anniversary of organ transplantation. The first transplant, involving a living-donor kidney between twin brothers, took place in Boston in 1954, and paved the way for thousands of life-saving transplants of not only kidney, but heart, liver, lung, pancreas, and most recently, islet cells.

Emory University has a rich history of organ transplantation, including the state's first transplant in November, 1966. Garland Perdue, MD, retired Medical Director of Emory University Hospital and CEO of the Emory Clinic, led the team that performed the kidney transplant, and was instrumental in bringing transplantation to Emory and Georgia.

Dr. Perdue vividly recalls the steps leading up to Emory's first transplant. "We had prepared for about three years. It began with dialysis work, animal research, and I had been working with a couple of the doctors who performed the very first transplant in Boston."

Something Emory did differently was incorporate the team approach to transplant. "There were some doctors already involved in organ transplant who didn't agree that the team approach was the best way to go, but I thought we needed it, and looking back, I still think we did it right."

Members of Emory's first transplant team included Dr. Perdue, William C. Waters, MD, Nephrology, John Woodard, MD, Urology, Charles Corley, MD, and a young surgeon who had recently joined the Emory Faculty, Robert B. Smith, III, MD. Dr. Smith is currently the Medical Director of Emory University Hospital.

All of the members of the first transplant team were junior faculty at the time, and Dr. Perdue remembers some senior faculty were reluctant to begin performing transplants. One of his mentors, Dr. JD Martin, was a senior faculty member who was supportive of the young doctors. "I told Dr. Martin we were ready to proceed, and he gave us the go ahead," Dr. Perdue remembers.

The first patient was a teenager suffering from renal failure. His father was the donor, and the transplant went smoothly. The patient lived for several more years with his donor kidney.

Dr. Smith was involved in the recovery of the donor organ. "It was exciting at the time, being part of history in the making," he recalls. "Garland had already laid the groundwork leading up Emory's first transplant, and all transplants since. His hard work and passion made the Emory Transplant Center possible, and paved the way for people like Chris Larsen and Tom Pearson." Larsen, MD, PhD, is the director of the Emory Transplant Center, and Pearson, MD, PhD, is director of Emory's Kidney Transplant Program. Both are pioneers in Emory's islet cell transplant program.

Living donors were used exclusively in the beginning of transplant. "The problem with using cadaver donors was matching," recalls Dr. Perdue. At that time, there was only one lab in the country that could do the blood work to determine a match, and that was in New York City. That made using cadaver donors almost impossible, because of the time it would take to get the blood tests back.

Eventually, through Dr. Perdue's work, Emory added staff who could do the lab work onsite. "This was instrumental in being able to use cadaver donors, as well as living donors," he says.

Since then, Emory's transplant program has grown to become the most extensive program in Georgia and a leader in the Southeast. Emory has transplantation programs in heart, lung, heart/lung, liver, kidney, kidney/pancreas, pancreas and islet cells, as well as programs for transplantation of bone marrow, cornea, skin and other tissue.

Media Contact: Lance Skelly 23 December 2004
  lskelly@emory.edu    
  (404) 686-8538   Print  | Email ]
Share:

del.icio.us

50 years of Transplant: Emory Surgeons Recall State's First Transplant
December 23 marks the 50th anniversary of organ transplantation. The first transplant, involving a living-donor kidney between twin brothers, took place in Boston in 1954, and paved the way for thousands of life-saving transplants of not only kidney, but heart, liver, lung, pancreas, and most recently, islet cells.

Emory University has a rich history of organ transplantation, including the state's first transplant in November, 1966. Garland Perdue, MD, retired Medical Director of Emory University Hospital and CEO of the Emory Clinic, led the team that performed the kidney transplant, and was instrumental in bringing transplantation to Emory and Georgia.

Dr. Perdue vividly recalls the steps leading up to Emory's first transplant. "We had prepared for about three years. It began with dialysis work, animal research, and I had been working with a couple of the doctors who performed the very first transplant in Boston."

Something Emory did differently was incorporate the team approach to transplant. "There were some doctors already involved in organ transplant who didn't agree that the team approach was the best way to go, but I thought we needed it, and looking back, I still think we did it right."

Members of Emory's first transplant team included Dr. Perdue, William C. Waters, MD, Nephrology, John Woodard, MD, Urology, Charles Corley, MD, and a young surgeon who had recently joined the Emory Faculty, Robert B. Smith, III, MD. Dr. Smith is currently the Medical Director of Emory University Hospital.

All of the members of the first transplant team were junior faculty at the time, and Dr. Perdue remembers some senior faculty were reluctant to begin performing transplants. One of his mentors, Dr. JD Martin, was a senior faculty member who was supportive of the young doctors. "I told Dr. Martin we were ready to proceed, and he gave us the go ahead," Dr. Perdue remembers.

The first patient was a teenager suffering from renal failure. His father was the donor, and the transplant went smoothly. The patient lived for several more years with his donor kidney.

Dr. Smith was involved in the recovery of the donor organ. "It was exciting at the time, being part of history in the making," he recalls. "Garland had already laid the groundwork leading up Emory's first transplant, and all transplants since. His hard work and passion made the Emory Transplant Center possible, and paved the way for people like Chris Larsen and Tom Pearson." Larsen, MD, PhD, is the director of the Emory Transplant Center, and Pearson, MD, PhD, is director of Emory's Kidney Transplant Program. Both are pioneers in Emory's islet cell transplant program.

Living donors were used exclusively in the beginning of transplant. "The problem with using cadaver donors was matching," recalls Dr. Perdue. At that time, there was only one lab in the country that could do the blood work to determine a match, and that was in New York City. That made using cadaver donors almost impossible, because of the time it would take to get the blood tests back.

Eventually, through Dr. Perdue's work, Emory added staff who could do the lab work onsite. "This was instrumental in being able to use cadaver donors, as well as living donors," he says.

Since then, Emory's transplant program has grown to become the most extensive program in Georgia and a leader in the Southeast. Emory has transplantation programs in heart, lung, heart/lung, liver, kidney, kidney/pancreas, pancreas and islet cells, as well as programs for transplantation of bone marrow, cornea, skin and other tissue.



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