What we do:
Solving the Organ Donor Shortage
Less than one-third of the 6,500+ dialysis centers in the United States have a formal transplant education program in operation. Therefore, many dialysis patients do not learn about their transplant options, particularly patients who are ethnic minorities. The chance of a dialysis patient being alive after five years without a transplant is only 40%. This means that many patients that are currently dialysis patients do not have adequate information to make an informed decision. With proper education, many of these patients may go on to find and receive a transplant from a living donor. This decreases their risk fo death and takes them off the waiting list allowing others who do not have a living donor a higher likelhood of getting a deceased donor transplant.
Since living donor transplant is only a viable option for kidney transplant, we need to have different solutions for other types of organ transplant. For all types of transplants, it would be better to delay or not need a transplant. This has been the case in intestinal transplant over the past decade. Better nutritional support and knowledge has allowed patients to do better as an intestinal failure patient delaying the need for an organ transplant in many cases.
Inspiring and educating the general population about KIDNEY transplant and living donation
Educating providers and patients as soon as possible about the opportunity to receive a transplant, specifically a living donor kidney transplant, is critical to patients’ long-term survival. To educate the most people possible in effective ways, the Terasaki Research Institute will leverage trans-disciplinary research perspectives that draw from health services, education design and delivery, economics, behavioral science and outcomes research.
Amy D. Waterman, PhD, leads this initiative. Dr. Waterman is Deputy Director of the Terasaki Research Institute's Transplant Research and Education Center and an Associate Professor of Medicine in UCLA's Division of Nephrology. She runs a team of researchers that work to inspire and educate people about kidney transplantation and living donation. In addition, her team designs patient-centered health measures for transplant, works to reduce racial disparities in transplant, and is developing education to help ensure transplant medication adherence. The group’s ultimate vision, and Dr. Waterman’s passion, is to increase transplant and living donation rates and solve the kidney donor shortage. Find out more about two of her programs: Explore Transplant and Explore Living Donation.
Understanding the diseases that lead to TRANSPLANT
A better understanding of pre-transplant disease and new solutions to prolong survival without a transplant are areas of focus for TRI. In addition to trying to understand immunological processes, the post-transplant period is also a good area to study organ disease to a new organ. The impact and mechanism of recurrent disease, diabetes, and other diseases that lead patients to transplant can be studied post-transplant. The Terasaki Research Institute will leverage post-transplant data and collaborate with partners studying pre-transplant diseases to gain a better understanding and deliver better solutions for many diseases.