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Research: From moving better to recovering faster, here's what we're studying. 
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The Baylor Annette C. and Harold C. Simmons Transplant Institute, which oversees the transplant programs at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas and Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center – Fort Worth, offers patients liver, kidney, pancreas, heart, lung and blood and marrow transplantation programs and access to advanced transplantation research. The institute is recognized around the world for its strength in translational research, such as the testing of ideas and theories from the laboratory to the real world with patients.

Among current transplantation research projects are:

Womb Transplantation
  • Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas is among the first in the U.S. to explore uterus transplantation, which is being studied as a new infertility treatment option for women with absolute uterine factor infertility (AUI), meaning their uterus is nonfunctioning or nonexistent.
  • As part of this clinical trial, 10 women will receive a donated uterus. After a year of monitoring, each patient may be eligible to have a fertilized egg implanted. The goal of the trial is a healthy pregnancy and a live birth.

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Immunosuppression and Drug Therapy
  • Investigators are studying eight immunosppressive drugs to seek new or better combinations that remain effective but with less-severe side effects. Often because of Baylor’s extensive transplant research program, patients benefit from new immunosuppressant medications five to seven years before they become standard therapy. Baylor investigators are also studying pre-liver transplant and post-liver transplant treatment of hepatitis C.
Biomarker Research
  • Researchers are studying the impact of biomarkers in predicting kidney problems following liver transplant and to determine if rejection could be predicted in the future for patients receiving liver transplants. The project is supported by National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding.
  • Researchers are collaborating with international leaders in transplant to link biomarkers with clinical outcomes of liver transplant recipients.
Thompson Diagnostic Liver Lab
  • The Thompson Diagnostic Liver Lab offers advanced modalities to diagnose liver disease. Patients may undergo a cholate shunt test, which provides an accurate non-invasive assessment of portal hypertension, an important measure of hepatic function. This test allows patients to have a better predictive assessment of their risk of decompensation over the ensuing years. Ultrasound elastography is routinely used in clinic to non-invasively assess the degree of hepatic fibrosis. This technology, which is available at only a few centers in the United States, allows some patients to forego liver biopsy. MR elastography is used in patients with hepatic fibrosis as another modality to non-invasively assess the liver. In addition, the Liver Lab is a center for research and development of new tools to help care for patients with liver disease.
Hepatitis Research
  • Clinical research conducted by Liver Consultants of Texas, a Health Texas practice dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment and advancement of research in liver disease, and the institute are focusing on new ways to help patients with chronic viral hepatitis due to hepatitis C infection with novel direct-acting antiviral therapies. Some include the use of interferon, but other multidrug non-interferon-based cocktails are putting hepatitis C in remission in as little as 12 weeks. Researchers are investigating more than 20 new drugs that may prove useful for the treatment of hepatitis C both in early- and late-stage disease, before and after liver transplantation. 
  • Liver Consultants of Texas, A Baylor-Health Texas Affiliate, is also participating in the hepatitis B research network (HBRN) study for patients with hepatitis B. The study is designed to follow patients as their disease progresses. This will help researchers understand the disease and how to improve the medical care of people who have hepatitis B. Baylor is one of 29 participating centers in the United States and Canada. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is funding this study.
  • Baylor Research Institute is conducting a study of islet cell transplantation, which has proved promising in Canadian studies. This provides people who have diabetes with new insulin-producing cells from a donor pancreas. Through this research, patients receive traditional immunsuppression medications to determine if they can become insulin independent. Transplant institute investigators are also coordinating with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation to study genetics in diabetes patients. 
  • Baylor is also participating in the Collaborative Islet Transplant Registry (CIRT), a multi-center study to collect information on people who have received one or more islet cell transplants. Doctors may be able to help improve the medical care of people who have had or will receive an islet cell transplant.
  • Baylor has been participating in the last few years in the Inter-agency Registry of Mechanically Assisted Circulatory Support (INTERMACS). This registry is for patients who have received or are receiving a mechanical circulatory support devise (MCSD). Baylor is one of 115 hospitals participating in this registry, which will assist researchers in understanding and improving the lives of patients with advanced heart failure.

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