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University of Pittsburgh receives two grants to try to increase organ donation/procurement

PITTSBURGH, Sept. 4 Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine's Department of Critical Care Medicine have received two three-year grants totaling more than $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through the agency's initiative that supports social, behavioral and clinical intervention programs that will lead to increased organ and tissue donation.

John A. Kellum, M.D., associate professor of critical care medicine, will receive a total of $947,925 to evaluate whether an experimental device can help improve the quality of organs in brain-dead donors before they are removed for transplantation. Michael DeVita, M.D., associate professor of critical care medicine and medicine, will receive $578,911 over the next three years to conduct a study that aims to help hospitals and organ procurement organizations (OPOs) better identify donors after cardiac death.

The two Pitt grants are among 13 awarded by HHS. Eight grants were awarded through the HHS program, Social and Behavioral Interventions to Increase Organ and Tissue Donation, and five, including the two Pitt grants, were awarded through HHS's Clinical Interventions to Increase Organ Procurement. These grants seek to evaluate clinical interventions that have the potential to increase the number of organ donors and the number of organs recoverable from existing donors.

Study looks at device's potential for improving organ quality.

About half of all organ donors in the United States are deceased donors, the vast majority of whom are declared brain dead before their organs are donated and removed. While not completely understood by researchers, the process of brain death itself can compromise the quality and function of organs before they are even removed. After brain death, an unknown process triggers cells to release certain molecules called cytokines as part of a massive inflammatory response. CytoSorb is an experimental device t
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Contact: Lisa Rossi
412-647-3555
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
4-Sep-2003


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