University of Maryland Medicine Establishes Nation's First Center For Cardiac Xenotransplantation Research With $24 Million Grant And Addition Of Top Transplant Surgeon-Scientists

Published: Aug 04, 2017

BALTIMORE, Aug. 3, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --Stephen Bartlett, MD, chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and UM SOMDean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, announced today that a recent $24 million grant from United Therapeutics Corporation will establish the first and only center for cardiac xenotransplantation research in the US, and one of only two in the world.

Xenotransplantation involves the transplantation of organs from one species to another. With human organ transplant wait times extending to months and even years, xenotransplantation researchers are searching for the means to genetically modify and transplant animal organs into humans to eliminate this shortage. The Transplant Division of the UM SOM Department of Surgery has had a longstanding xenotransplantation research program and is considered to be one of the nation's leading centers for such investigations. The new cardiac xenotransplantation initiative will provide the opportunity to expand and accelerate this effort.

"This grant thrusts our Transplant Division into an elite group of centers doing cutting-edge xenotransplantation research. We now can look forward to exponentially expanding our department's current and new xeno initiatives, creating an even greater impact in accelerating our trajectory of discovery and innovation in medicine," said Dr. Bartlett, who is also the Peter G. Angelos Distinguished Professor of Surgery at the School of Medicine, as well as surgeon-in-chief and executive vice president at the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS).

To oversee this effort, Muhammad Mansoor Mohiuddin, MBBS has been appointed as Professor of Surgery and Director of Xenoheart Transplantation in the Department of Surgery. Dr. Mohiuddin is an internationally renowned transplantation scientist specializing in cardiac xenotransplantation and related immunosuppressive therapies. "In accepting this position, Dr. Mohiuddin is bringing decades of invaluable experience in basic, translational, and clinical research as well as publishing to his new role," said Dr. Bartlett.

In his new position, Dr. Mohiuddin will be responsible for establishing the infrastructure needed to create a world-class cardiac xenotransplantation center in the Department of Surgery as well as recruiting and leading an advanced research team. While fostering new department research activities, he also will lead efforts in identifying and securing funding for his laboratory's basic, translational, and clinical research initiatives.

"I am very excited to accept this appointment and to work within the Department of Surgery," said Dr. Mohiuddin."What attracted me to the University of Maryland is the dedication that Dr. Bartlett and Dean Reece have shown towards xenotransplantation, as well as their commitment of support toward the field in general and my research efforts in particular. We now have an opportunity to create the world's leading center for xenotransplantation research here at the University, leading to human trials within the next three years."

Dr. Mohiuddin is best known for his 2016 breakthrough trial where he and his team maintained the survival of modified pig hearts transplanted into simian models for an unprecedented mean of 433 days, with one lasting 945 daysalmost two and half yearsbreaking all previous pig-to-primate heart transplant records. To achieve this goal, Dr. Mohiuddin's team developed an immune-suppressing regimen using an immunosuppressive drug (mycophenolate mofetil) and immunomodulatory antibodies against key immune system components (CD40 and CD20).

Dr. Mohiuddin received his MBBS medical degree from Dow Medical College in Karachi, Pakistan. He completed his initial surgical training at the Civil Hospital in Karachi. His training continued with fellowships in Transplantation Biology and Immunology at the University of Pennsylvania; in Transplantation Surgery at the MCP-Hahnemann Medical School (now Drexel University College of Medicine); in Bone Marrow Transplantation at Allegheny University of The Health Sciences (now Drexel University College of Medicine); and in Human Islet Transplantation at the University of Pennsylvania.

Prior to joining UM SOM's Department of Surgery, Dr. Mohiuddin worked for 12 years at the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at the National Institutes of Health, both as a principal investigator in xenotransplantation for the Cardiothoracic Surgery Research Program, and as Chief of the Transplantation Section in the Cardiothoracic Surgery Research Program. He also has coauthored more than 130 peer-reviewed articles, and has been an internationally invited speaker. His current grants from NIH for basic and clinical research total $3M.

"The Department of Surgery already is known nationally as one of our strongestespecially its cardiac and transplant clinical and research programs," said Dean Reece, who is also the vice president for Medical Affairs, University of Maryland, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor. "The establishment of this unique research center as well as Dr. Mohiuddin's appointment underscores the critical importance that outstanding basic, translational, and clinical research continues to play in this department and in the world-class accomplishments of our research community overall."

About the University of Maryland School of Medicine

Commemorating its 210th Anniversary, the University of Maryland School of Medicine was chartered in 1807 as the first public medical school in the United States. It continues today as one of the fastest growing, top-tier biomedical research enterprises in the world -- with 43 academic departments, centers, institutes, and programs; and a faculty of more than 3,000 physicians, scientists, and allied health professionals, including members of the National Academy of Medicine, and a distinguished recipient of the Albert E. Lasker Award in Medical Research.  With an operating budget of more than $1 billion, the School of Medicine works closely in partnership with the University of Maryland Medical Center and Medical System to provide research-intensive, academic and clinically-based care for more than 1.2 million patients each year. The School has over 2,500 students, residents, and fellows, and nearly $450 million in extramural funding, with more than half of its academic departments ranked in the top 20 among all public medical schools in the nation in research funding. As one of the seven professional schools that make up the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus, the School of Medicine has nearly 7,000 total employees. The combined School and Medical System ("University of Maryland Medicine") has a total budget of $5 billion and an economic impact of nearly $15 billion on the state and local community. The School of Medicine faculty, which ranks as the 8th-highest public medical school in research productivity, is an innovator in translational medicine with 600 active patents and 24 start-up companies. The School works locally, nationally, and globally, with research and treatment facilities in 36 countries around the world. Visit medschool.umaryland.edu/

About United Therapeutics Corporation
Headquartered in Silver Spring, MD, United Therapeutics Corporation is a biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialization of innovative products to address the unmet medical needs of patients with chronic and life-threatening conditions.
http://www.unither.com/

 

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SOURCE University of Maryland Medical Center

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