Research Studies in Pediatric Transplantation

A variety of research programs are underway at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh in conjunction with the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute. Many projects are directly related to liver transplantation and may prove to enhance transplantation procedures and success rates. Some of the programs focus on:

  • Immunotherapy
  • Transplantation tolerance
  • Organ preservation
  • Growth factor biology
  • Bioengineering
A research snapshot: Seeking the secrets of transplant tolerance

Pediatric liver transplant surgeon George Mazariegos, MD, is heading up a research team at the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute that is studying specific biological factors that may enable some patients to be successfully weaned from immunosuppressants. The investigation is part of a three-year grant funded by the National Institutes of Health via the Immune Tolerance Network. Researchers from nearly 40 institutions are involved.

Dr. Mazariegos and colleagues at the Starzl Transplantation Institute are collecting blood samples from adult and pediatric patients who have successfully been weaned from all immunosuppressive therapy. Information collected from these individuals will be compared to information collected from patients who rejected their transplant after withdrawal from immunosuppressants; patients with acute rejection despite continuing immunosuppression therapy; and patients currently undergoing immunosuppression withdrawal.

If precise clinical markers can be determined, it may be possible to develop simple tests that could help predict transplant tolerance. The research may also provide clues in understanding how tolerance impacts autoimmune diseases and other health problems, such as allergies and asthma.

Other co-investigators involved in this research at the Starzl Transplantation Institute include: Adriana Zeevi, PhD; Angus Thompson, PhD, DSc; and Jorge Reyes, MD.

Learn more about Pediatric Transplantation Research Studies.

See also Studies Open for Enrollment.