What we do:

Ensure an Optimal Life For Transplant Patients


The Challenge

Knowing how the transplanted organ and the recipient's immune system interact is important to ending chronic rejection. However, improving the life of a transplant patient requires us to investigate beyond the immunological problems. At the Terasaki Research Institute, we are keenly focused on working together with transplant patients to get a better understanding of their habits, preferences, and quality of life. We want to make transplant care, transplant medications, and the entire transplant process better fit the needs of the transplant patients. We believe that we can integrate the patient's needs into our research and transplant education to make a transplant recipient's life better. This requires scientists, clinicians, and health services researchers to work together WITH the patient. Our research focus to understand the complete patient currently focuses on the following key areas: patient reported outcomes, medication adherence, telemedicine, and proper transplant patient education.


The Strategy

Patient Reported outcomes and medication adherence

Our scientists work with transplant patients to build a better medication and a better care model for transplant. As we develop tools to assess the burden of transplant and other patient reported outcomes, we hope to improve the rates of medication adherence. In addition, we understand that life after transplant is not easy. Transplant patients experience bad days and even bad weeks. Some of this is related to acute rejection episodes, but some of this is related to the prevention of acute and chronic rejection. The main medications used in transplant today were developed in the 1990s or earlier. In the last few years newer medications have become options such as once a day oral or once-a-month injectable medications that can reduce pill burden and help solve issues with medication adherence. Overall, all medications in transplant need to be discussed and we need to find new options that better fit the patients. We do not want patients feeling sick, needing extra surgeries, or developing cancer after transplant when these can and should be avoided. 



The model  of how transplant care is delivered has worked well for a very long time. However, it may need to be adjusted as many technological advances have made it possible to take care of transplant patients in ways that may both better suit their needs and achieve the goals of the care providers. Telemedicine and using health coaches could change transplant care. Since the organ transplant rejection remains a concern, more frequent follow-up over the life of the transplant, and not just in the first few months, may improve outcomes. However, seeing a patient in clinic more often may not be the right answer. Using telemedicine could improve care and communication between a patient and his/her transplant care team without increase the burden on the patient. At the Terasaki Research Institute, we are looking into how telemedicine can impact transplant care and trying to determine the best version of transplant care for patients receiving transplants today. 




With our learning and discovery, we look to use this newly gained knowledge to create and deliver the best transplant education possible. Dr. Amy Waterman, PhD. is one of the best at developing and delivering transplant education. Learn more about one of her transplant education programs for organ donation. At the Terasaki Research Institute, transplant education is part of what we do. We continue to develop innovative and proper ways to deliver transplant education to the care providers and to the patients in a way that can positively impact transplant outcomes and patient lives.

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