“I have been involved, throughout my career, in trying to address the number one unmet need in transplantation: an inadequate supply of organs. I am a heart recipient, and through my personal experience being on the waiting list for an organ, it became pretty clear to me that our current efforts are woefully inadequate.”
Robert Montgomery, M.D., D.Phil.
Robert Montgomery, M.D., D.Phil., knows that inadequate organ supply is one of the hardest problems to solve in the national organ transplant system. As a heart transplant recipient, he witnessed firsthand the reality of the scarcity of lifesaving organs and has spent much of his career working toward finding solutions. 2023 Transplant Management Forum attendees will hear from Dr. Montgomery about his experience waiting for a transplant and his innovative work in xenotransplantation.
Tell us about your background.
I’m a transplant surgeon, the chair of the Department of Surgery at NYU Langone Health and the director of the NYU Langone Transplant Institute. I have been involved, throughout my career, in trying to address the number one unmet need in transplantation: an inadequate supply of organs. I am a heart recipient, and through my personal experience being on the waiting list for an organ, it became pretty clear to me that our current efforts are woefully inadequate. The whole experience got me interested in new, more sustainable and renewable sources of organs and trying to change the current paradigm, which often requires someone to die for someone else to live.
What will you be presenting about at TMF?
I will talk a bit about my own personal story, as well as the current organ supply and threats to that supply. From there I’ll discuss the concept of using genetically modified pig organs as an alternative source of organs for humans. Then I will talk about our work testing these organs in studies of brain dead individuals, whose families donated their bodies for the purpose of testing xeno organs in humans. Our team performed the first successful pig-to-human kidney transplant with a genetically edited organ in 2021. We’ve since successfully transplanted an additional kidney and two hearts, so I will also talk about those experiences.
What are you hoping TMF attendees will learn if they attend your session?
I want attendees to understand the perspective of a patient and what it’s like waiting for a scarce resource that you may or may not receive in time. I want to impress on the audience how fragile our current source of organs is and inform them of the future, which I believe is in sustainable, alternative organs.
Learn more from Dr. Montgomery during his session at 2023 Transplant Management Forum in Denver, Colorado. Registration is now open.