Comprehensive Transplant Center Celebrates Official Launch
|(From LEFT) J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD, Dixon Kaufman, MD, PhD, Michael Abecassis, MD, MBA, and Dean M. Harrison at the reception following the Launch of the comprehensive transplant center.
With an audience of approximately 240 physicians, faculty, staff, patients and friends, the Northwestern University Comprehensive Transplant Center (CTC) celebrated its official launch on October 28. The CTC is an umbrella for, and catalyst to, a wide range of collaborative and multidisciplinary activities at Northwestern University and Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Its formation is the latest example of a strategic investment that builds on Northwestern’s strengths and collaborative culture to drive the transformation of an important area of patient care and public health.
The day’s first seminar, presented by David Cella, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Medical Social Sciences, offered a deeper understanding of all of the issues and outcomes surrounding transplant surgeries. Cella detailed a few of the many partnerships that comprise the CTC, in particular, the Northwestern University Transplant Outcomes Research Collaborative (NUTORC), which helps lead research and quality of life care after transplant.
Following a welcome from Northwestern patient James Tyree, chairman and CEO of Mesirow Financial, Dixon Kaufman, MD, PhD, led the second seminar on replacement, regeneration, and bioartificial options for patients suffering from organ and tissue failure. Kaufman, Fowler McCormick Professor, vice chair of research in the Department of Surgery and director of Pancreas and Islet Transplantation at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, is also deputy director of the CTC. Emphasizing the importance of finding new options for the one million Americans with insulin dependent diabetes, he described how transformations in beta cell replacement therapies are revolutionizing care.
Following the afternoon seminars, J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD, vice president for medical affairs and Lewis Landsberg Dean of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, began the official program and welcomed the two expert guest speakers: Gary Levy, MD, FRCP(C), and Nancy Bridges, MD. In his remarks, Jameson described the evolution of the CTC — from the vision of Michael Abecassis, MD, MBA, to the instrumental partnership of Dean M. Harrison, president and chief executive officer of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare — in fortifying this clinical, academic and research center.
Levy, director of the Multi Organ Transplant Program, University Health Network and director of the University of Toronto Transplantation Institute, then took the stage to share lessons from his own successes and to congratulate his close friend and former mentee Abecassis on his new role as founding director of the CTC.
Levy then turned the stage over to Bridges, chief of the Transplantation Immunobiology Branch, Division of Allergy, Immunology, and Transplantation at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). As a representative of the largest funder of biomedical research in the world, Bridges shared her own perspective and the outlook of the NIH on gaining new knowledge from transplant research. She congratulated the center for embodying this stance, saying, “This is the right way to approach transplant research.”
To close the evening, Abecassis, J. Roscoe Miller Distinguished Professor in the Departments of Surgery and Microbiology and Immunology, dean of Clinical Affairs, and chief of the Division of Transplantation at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, addressed the audience. As director of the CTC, Abecassis thanked a number of people — speakers, guests, patients, colleagues and institutional leadership — for their role in creating the center and for their confidence in the transplant team. He shared his vision for the center and made it clear that its success would only further accelerate Northwestern’s recognition as a great academic medical center.