3,000 kidney transplants performed at NYP/Weill Cornell

Published on September 2, 2007 at 9:30 PM · No Comments

More than 3,000 lives have been saved through the kidney transplant program at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center and its medical partner The Rogosin Institute.

This major milestone was possible through significant advances, including laparoscopic surgical techniques and a non-invasive molecular test to diagnosis organ rejection -- developed by NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell and Rogosin physicians and researchers -- and the enormous generosity of organ donors worldwide.

NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell performed New York state's first kidney transplant in 1963. For the year 2006, the comprehensive kidney program at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital -- including both major centers NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell and NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center -- had the highest volume transplant program in the country. The multidisciplinary transplant program crosses several specialties including surgery, nephrology and urology.

"We are thrilled to have reached this important milestone. Only by combining advanced clinical research with compassionate patient care have NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell and The Rogosin Institute been able to help so many patients receive the gift of life," says Dr. Fabrizio Michelassi, surgeon-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell and the Lewis Atterbury Stimson Professor of Surgery and chairman of the Department of Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College.

"Our research team has pioneered non-invasive molecular techniques to diagnose transplant rejection, tolerance and infection that have helped our program to reach this level of care. We will continue to focus our efforts on developing new ways to improve outcomes for our transplant patients," said Dr. Manikkam Suthanthiran, chief of the Department of Transplantation Medicine and Extracorporeal Therapy at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell and the Stanton Griffis Distinguished Professor of Medicine and chief of the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension at Weill Cornell Medical College.

"Transplantation has come a long way since the first transplant 45 years ago," says Dr. Albert Rubin, director of the Rogosin Institute. "Rogosin Institute physicians have partnered with NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell to provide the most comprehensive care for all 3,000 of our transplant recipients and their donors. Future research is aimed at preventing the progression of kidney disease, making dialysis and transplantation unnecessary."

"This is truly an exciting time in the transplant field. Today, we are able to offer our patients several unique and innovative strategies to ensure that they receive the organ they need and maintain long and healthy lives," says Dr. Sandip Kapur, chief of the Division of Transplant Surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell and associate professor at Weill Cornell Medical College. "While we treat even the most complex cases, our survival rate surpasses the national average."

"My heartfelt congratulations to NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell and The Rogosin Institute for reaching this major milestone," says Elaine Berg, president and CEO of the New York Organ Donor Network. "Every one of these 3,000 transplants was linked to a gift of compassion and generosity by an organ donor and their family, without whom there could be no life-saving transplantations."

Recent advances have helped make more kidneys available at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell. The use of minimally invasive techniques to remove kidneys from a donor has dramatically improved the acceptance of kidney donation. NewYork-Presbyterian performs this technique of "laparoscopic" kidney removal -- proven safe and effective by Dr. Joseph Del Pizzo, director of Laparoscopic and Minimally Invasive Surgery, and colleagues in the Department of Urology at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell -- with one of the greatest volumes in the New York region. Another technique to increase the availability of donor kidneys is the kidney swap, which involves taking two or more pairs of patients with potential donors who are medically suitable and willing but blood-group incompatible, and swapping donors so patients can get kidney transplants where previously neither would have been able to.

In addition, advances in immunosuppression and desensitization have allowed patients to receive organs that had previously been considered immunologically incompatible, including transplants across blood-group barriers -- transplants despite antibodies directed against the donor transplant antibodies. All surgeries are done using minimally invasive techniques, allowing for quicker recoveries.

NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell is the only center to offer an innovative non-invasive molecular test that predicts organ rejection before outward signs of rejection and provides the basis for individualized treatment of kidney transplant patients. Developed by Dr. Suthanthiran and colleagues, the test, which uses molecular biomarkers to predict transplant-organ function, enables physicians to fine-tune medications, minimizing lifetime exposure to immunosuppression drugs that can potentially damage the transplanted organ. As a result, NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell has an acute rejection rate of only 5 percent -- nearly 10 percent better than the national average.

NYP/Weill Cornell and Rogosin Kidney Transplant Milestones

  • Performed first hemodialysis in metropolitan area in 1956. The Rogosin Institute and NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell now supervise 100,000+ dialyses every year.
  • Performed first living-related kidney transplant in metropolitan area in 1963.
  • Performed first cadaveric kidney transplant in New York State in 1965.
  • Performed its 1,000th kidney transplant in 1984.
  • Performed its 2,000th kidney transplant in 1999.
  • Developed molecular method to detect kidney transplant rejection in 2001.

The comprehensive kidney disease program at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital -- including NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia -- was ranked second in the nation by U.S.News & World Report in its 2007 "America's Best Hospitals" issue.

For more information, patients may call (866) NYP-NEWS.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, located in New York City, is one of the leading academic medical centers in the world, comprising the teaching hospital NewYork-Presbyterian and its academic partner, Weill Cornell Medical College. NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell provides state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine, and is committed to excellence in patient care, research, education and community service. NewYork-Presbyterian, which is ranked sixth on the U.S.News & World Report's list of top hospitals, also comprises NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center.

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