Our physicians and researchers have made major advances in heart transplant and transplant of other organs. As a result, our patients know they will receive the latest and best care.
Our team is a leader in the science that supports heart transplant, ventricular assist devices (VADs) and artificial hearts, and we constantly seek to improve outcomes and bring life-extending therapies to more patients with end-stage heart disease.
UCLA's History of Research Transformed Into Care
Notably for heart transplant, a UCLA-led study found in 2014 that a blood test can predict organ-rejection problems:
- The blood test, AlloMap, was developed by Mario Deng, MD, to identify ongoing rejection.
- The AlloMap test measures changes in the expression of about a dozen genes in heart transplant recipients.
- We now use this FDA-cleared blood test to rule out rejection without the need for a heart biopsy, allowing patients to avoid a previously common, invasive and potentially risky procedure.
- The blood test works no matter how well the transplanted heart is currently functioning.
Our other recent work has included:
- Better preserving donor organs with ex-vivo organ perfusion (such as beating heart transplant). UCLA has been the most-used center for the clinical trial.
- Making more donor organs available.
- Making transplantation available to more patients.
- Increasing the availability of immunosuppressive therapies that reduce the likelihood of organ rejection.
- Developing new kinds of bridge-to-transplant care.
Ongoing Innovations at UCLA
At UCLA, innovation never stops. We're pursuing ongoing studies to improve the future of transplantation. This work includes:
- Based on our success predicting heart rejection with a blood test (see above), we're pursuing research funded by the NIH (National Institutes of Health) to develop a similar concept for a much larger patient population. This test will predict which patients will develop organ dysfunctional syndrome.
- We're active in a clinical study of the smaller SynCardia 50cc Total Artificial Heart for use in smaller men, women and teens.
- We participate in the PREVENT clinical trial studying clot formation (thrombosis) inside VADs.
- We're studying alternative therapies for patients with end-stage heart disease, including destination therapy, stem-cell therapy, pharmacological therapy and genome-based therapy.
- We're pursuing multiple clinical studies to improve patients' immunosuppressive regimen post-heart or lung transplant while minimizing side effects.
- We're collaborating with Google to find non-invasive monitoring techniques.