Thursday, November 7, 2013

30th anniversary of the first successful single-lung transplant

Dear Respiratory friends we are congratulating everybody with wonderful anniversary of the first successful lung transplant!!!
Last year alone, 1,754 lung transplants were performed throughout the U.S., according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. Yet not long ago, lung transplantation was regarded as one of thoracic surgery's great unsolved challenges. "It was thought that the bronchus might just be the Achilles' heel of transplantation, and it just was an insoluble problem," says Joel D. Cooper, MD, 74, from his office at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
Monica Assenheimer (from left), the second single-lung recipient, Tom Hall, the world’s first single-lung recipient, and Ann Harrison, the world’s first double-lung recipient. The University of Toronto will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the first successful lung transplant and honor Dr. Cooper at a ceremony Nov. 6.
Photo Courtesy of University of Toronto’s Living History project,
After participating in the 44th failed attempt in the late 1970s, Dr. Cooper retreated to his lab at University of Toronto. With the support of his colleagues and a number of research fellows from around the world, they conducted a series of wound-healing experiments in dogs that uncovered the culprit: high doses of the immunosuppressant drug prednisone interfered with the healing process. Using omentum and cyclosporin (both experimental at the time), Dr. Cooper and his team completed the first successful lung transplant in 1983 on a 58-year-old Canadian hardware executive and pulmonary fibrosis patient Tom Hall, and the procedure was reproducible.
"When everybody failed, Joel never gave up on making the dream of lung transplantation a reality," says Shaf Keshavjee, MD, surgeon in chief at (Toronto) University Heath Network and director of the Toronto Lung Transplant Program, which Dr. Cooper initiated. "Thousands of lung patients are alive because of Joel's contributions."
November marks the 30th anniversary of the first successful single-lung transplant, but it's hardly Dr. Cooper's only contribution to thoracic surgery and medicine. Dr. Cooper, a professor of surgery at Penn and an ATS member since 1976, directed the first successful double-lung transplants in 1986 and 1987, and later the bilateral, sequential, single-lung transplantation procedure to treat cystic fibrosis, emphysema and pulmonary hypertension.
When asked how he felt about his legacy of solving a great thoracic mystery, Dr. Cooper humbly answers, "We put the icing on the cake that other people had spent years and years baking. I think it was Isaac Newton coined the aphorism, 'if we see further, it's because we stand on the shoulders of giants.' Nothing, I think, typifies that more than the transplant."

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