Research is a critical part of what we do at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, as we are always searching for innovative ways to treat and manage advanced disease and transplantation surgery.
Research is conducted under the oversight of Dr. Thomas Fishbein, M.D. Executive Director of MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute. Clinical Trials are led by highly skilled Surgeons and Clinicians as Primary Investigators (P.I.) who specialized in Transplant. We are committed to bringing basic research into medical and nursing practice to produce meaningful health outcomes to improve medicine.
All of our studies are presented at regional, national, and international meetings and are published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. We are committed to advancing the art and science of transplantation and to improving the quality of patients' lives through systematic investigation.
In 2013, the Center for Translational Transplant Medicine (CTTM) was jointly formed by the MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute (MGTI) and Georgetown University Medical Center with the ultimate goal of transforming patient care. Toward that end, CTTM promotes the cross-fertilization of ideas by bringing together disease groups and specialties, laboratory scientists and transplant physicians to work together for innovative responses to current clinical problems.
Overarching areas of interest include immunity modulation, inflammation, cellular reprogramming, tolerance induction and other potential paths to improve graft survival and reduce infection and rejection, particularly for complex small bowel transplantations.
Since its debut, approximately 100 clinical trials have been launched under the CTTM umbrella, ranging from investigator-initiated basic studies to retrospective chart reviews to sponsored therapeutic drug and clinical device trials. By comparison, only 85 transplant-related trials were conducted altogether over the previous decade.
As a result of such activities, clinical research enrollment for phase I and phase II surgery trials is now double what it was before CTTM. Today, nearly all MGTI physicians are engaged in research to hasten the clinical adaptation of new and better protocols, treatment algorithms, immunosuppressive regimens, surgical techniques and other advancements.
In 2015, CTTM expanded into a new 3,000-square-foot lab dedicated to transplant immunology and recruited Alexander Kroemer, MD, PhD, to the newly created position of Transplant Lab Chief, advancing the pace of research and development even further.
Intestinal immunology is a prime example of how CTTM is contributing to the field. With so few intestinal transplant centers in the nation, MGTI fulfills a vital role by collecting, processing and storing intestinal biospecimens from its well-established center. The largest such repository in the world, MGTI currently houses 3,000 samples which it shares with other institutions conducting intestine-related scientific investigations nationwide. Combined with MGTI’s own body of work, these collective studies are molding the future of overall gastrointestinal care.
MGTI’s intestinal research focuses on delineating the mechanisms that contribute to post-transplant infection and rejection of the small bowel. By identifying specific biomarkers, translational researchers hope to manipulate the body’s immune response for improved
Chronic pancreatitis is uncommon and difficult to diagnose, often eluding detection until its advanced stages. By then, unresolved disease may have consumed much of the organ’s insulin-producing islet cells, leaving some patients with few to isolate and transplant.
That scenario reduces the number of patients who could benefit from the procedure, prompting the physician/scientists at MGTI to search for novel solutions on multiple fronts.
The Center for Intestinal Care and Transplant has an active lab and research program, along with one of the nation’s few intestinal tissue repositories which supports scientific investigation here and elsewhere.
A major current focus is determining how key immunologic factors affect long-term transplant outcomes in intestinal transplant recipients by:
Current areas of inquiry include research into intravenous lipid therapy for TPN-associated liver disease, the use of a genetically engineered hormone (GLP-2) to improve intestinal rehabilitation and prevent the need for intestinal transplant in children, and understanding and reducing opportunistic infections.