Transplantation Research

The Siragusa Transplant Center has been a national pediatric research center for more than 10 years, continuing Lurie Children’s long-standing dedication to pediatric research. The physician-researchers on our staff have pioneered influential new methods of studying pediatric diseases and transplantation and receive substantial funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Current Studies

Improving Patient Care

At the Siragusa Transplant Center, we have pediatric research protocols and clinical trials active every day of the year, providing substantial opportunities for your child and family to participate in groundbreaking research protocols that increase the knowledge base of the medical community and improve pediatric care standards. And most importantly, the doctors, nurses and clinical staff members caring for your child at Lurie Children's are the very same researchers at the forefront of their respective fields. Therefore, you can be assured that your child is getting the best of the best. 

Some of the center’s current areas of research include:

Using cardiac stem cells to prevent cell death

Surgical repair of congenital heart defects in children is highly successful. Yet some of these surgical patients develop heart failure due to cardiomyopathy. Our laboratory research into cellular regenerative strategies — using cardiac stem cells endogenous to the heart and small molecules to prevent cell death in heart muscles — may offer new, alternative therapies.

Investigating intestinal stem cell activation

Many intestinal resection patients become dependent on total parenteral nutrition (TPN). This can lead to multiple, and potentially fatal, complications. Laboratory research into intestinal stem cell activation and its role in the adaptive process in the intestine after resection could offer better understanding of the process.

Preventing kidney scarring

Scarring is the leading cause of re-transplantation among kidney transplant patients. The center is now studying the prevention of scarring, with the goal of helping patients avoid re-transplantation.

Eliminating immunosuppression medications

We are one of two centers participating in the NIH-sponsored study to explore safe minimization and elimination of immunosuppression medications after liver transplantation. Results may reshape how liver transplant physicians manage their patients’ care.

Using PBSC before stem cell transplant

A significant number of leukemia patients not cured by conventional chemotherapy require a hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT). We are developing a regimen from unrelated donor peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC) to be used before HSCT transplant to reduce toxicity and improve long-term outcomes.

Collaborating to Expanding Options

Our significant investment in and commitment to clinical and laboratory research allows the Siragusa Transplant Center to lead the way in developing influential methods of studying pediatric diseases and transplantation. However, we know our ability to succeed in improving the lives of our patients is enhanced when we engage in collaborative research with other respected and well established centers and organizations. Sharing information and keeping apprised of what others are doing to advance the lives of pediatric patients across the country and world is a key to any successful scientific endeavor. To help support more meaningful, statistically significant research (since pediatric transplant volumes by individual hospitals are often fairly small), the center combines data with multiple institutions, collaborating in national and international research endeavors, studies and reporting entities.

Our collaborations include:

In addition to external collaboration, the Siragusa Transplant Center collaborates with other departments within the Lurie Children’s family. For example, we are currently collaborating with staff from the Department of Psychology to study cognitive functioning among children affected by liver disease and develop new methodologies for the assessment and improvement of quality of life in pediatric transplant recipients.

At the Siragusa Transplant Center we are committed to research directly related to the improvement of the health of your child. We do so by continuing our ongoing commitment to institutional clinical and laboratory research coupled with important collaborative efforts in the field.

New Way to Train Immune System to Ward Off Organ Transplant Rejection

Jennifer Schneiderman, MD, MS, is working on a cutting-edge approach to induce full tolerance of the transplanted organs in recipients. This means that after their transplant, patients would not need to rely on immunity suppressing drugs for the rest of their lives to prevent organ rejection.

Read the story.