Last year, 5,000 people around the world died while waiting for a lifesaving liver transplant. The
demand for viable livers far exceeds the number of available organs, creating an immense need
for advancements in liver transplantation. The primary technique used to transport organs for
the past 40 years involves keeping them at near freezing temperatures, causing unnecessary
damage to the organ. Maintaining the quality of organs being transplanted, and minimizing
additional damage is critical to caring for patients and eliminating the gap between patient
need and available organs.
Cristiano Quintini, MD, Director of Liver Transplantation, graduated from the University of
Bologna School of Medicine, completed his fellowship at Cleveland Clinic and joined as full time
staff in 2006. He led a team in pioneering a new method of preserving organs for transplant,
referred to as Ex-Vivo Organ Perfusion. Using a device designed by his team, the organ is stored
in a portable, body-temperature intensive care unit that provides oxygen, nutrients and
medication to restore the organ to optimal health before transplantation. This revolutionary
device will lead to better, healthier outcomes for recipients and more viable organs for
transplantation overall. In the past four years, over 15patients at Cleveland Clinic have received
successful liver transplants using this technique. Philanthropy was the catalyst in creating this
technique and will be imperative in order to introduce this technology beyond Cleveland Clinic.
Philanthropy can ensure that Dr. Quintini can take his research one step further into the use of
ex-vivo with other organs. The ultimate goal is to obtain the next set of approvals from the FDA
to bring ex-vivo to the global medical market and start saving the lives of more patients
desperately in need of transplants.