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In This Issue:
As one of the nation’s top hospitals, BWH lays claim to numerous medical firsts and milestones in its long and accomplished history. This year marks one of the most significant events in that history—the 50th anniversary of the first successful human organ transplant, a kidney, on December 23, 1954.
It was this defining event that catapulted BWH’s predecessor institution, the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital (PBBH), into the medical history books and led to surgeon Joseph Murray, MD, receiving the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1990 for his trailblazing efforts.
Groundwork for the Future
Fifty years following this monumental event, more than 2,500 organ transplants have occurred at BWH and hospital surgeons, physicians, researchers, nurses and surgical technologists continue to build upon the efforts of Murray and other PBBH pioneers. Today, progress continues at BWH.
The most recent milestone occurred in January when a team of BWH surgeons successfully transplanted five lungs from three donors into five patients in a 36-hour period. BWH’s commitment to improving the lives of the chronically ill is evident in such modern procedures.
BWH clinicians and scientists have moved into the future, concentrating on improving recipients’ immune tolerance without the side effects of immunosuppressive drugs. Researchers are also focusing on the new arena of islet cell transplantation and tissue engineering.
BWH continues to serve as a pacesetter for organ transplantation, setting surgical milestones, conducting novel research studies and training future generations of expert clinicians in this complex field. BWH’s highly specialized teams of medical and surgical clinicians, working to advance transplantation, continue to be sought after by a wide variety of chronically ill patients.
Drawing Inspiration for the Future
As we celebrate 50 years of organ transplantation history at BWH, we salute the unified team efforts that led to this inaugural 1954 event and the many other novel procedures and advancements that have followed. Critical to such innovation have been the work and genius of various individuals and departments coming together to set the standard for others to follow.
To appropriately mark the milestone, BWH Bulletin is launching a new monthly profile series, “History of Pride,” to tell the stories and unique perspectives of the event from the eyes of the many participants and departments involved. You’ll also be seeing a number of new initiatives to mark the anniversary. The commemorative logo, unveiled here, will be featured throughout the institution and in anniversary events. Look for the 50th anniversary web page and photo gallery coming later this spring. Stop by the Nobel Prize lobby display at 15 Francis or participate in hospital celebrations and special events to be held throughout the year.
We invite you to use these opportunities to reflect not only on BWH’s rich heritage, but on our continuing accomplishments in organ transplantation.