ISMETT Reaches Transplant Milestone

By: Lawerence Synett

A leading transplant center managed by UPMC, ISMETT recently performed its 2,000th transplant in Palermo, Sicily.

Since 1999, ISMETT has performed 1,118 liver transplants (of which 120 were from living donors), 472 kidney transplants (of which 188 were from living donors), 162 heart transplants, 152 lung transplants, 39 combined transplants, five pancreas transplants and 52 VAD implants. The total number includes 211 pediatric patients.

The 2,000th was a liver transplant performed on a 54-year-old Sicilian man, thanks to a donation from Cannizzaro Hospital in Catania.

“ISMETT’s 2,000th transplant is an outstanding result that places Sicily at the highest national levels in terms of quality and volumes,” said Baldo Gucciardi, regional health commissioner. “This is a further confirmation of the value of ISMETT for regional and national healthcare and research.” Since its creation in 1997 as a unique public-private partnership, ISMETT has become one of the most advanced multiorgan transplant centers in Europe, with graft and patient survival rates that rank among the best.

“This is an extremely important milestone for us, achieved thanks to the extensive experience of all professionals working at ISMETT,” said Dr. Angelo Luca, chief executive officer of ISMETT. “The partnership with UPMC, where the ‘father of transplantation’ Thomas Starzl built his career, continues to foster Palermo’s cutting-edge transplant expertise and scientific advances.”

In 2014, the Ministry of Health designated ISMETT as a government-approved research hospital, or Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico (IRCCS). The acknowledgement rewards ISMETT for its excellence in research, training, quality of care and management of health services.

Formally known as the Istituto Mediterraneo per i Trapianti e Terapie ad Alta Specializzazione, ISMETT performs not only transplants but other high-specialty procedures, including cardiothoracic and cancer surgeries. It treats more than 30,000 patients a year with severe organ disease and recently was accredited for the third time by Joint Commission International, the organization that certifies the safety and quality of care provided to patients in hospitals around the world.

The recent integration between the boards of directors of ISMETT and the Ri.MED Foundation is expected to accelerate the translation of medical research into better patient care. Established in 2006, the Ri.MED Foundation is an international partnership among the Italian government, the Region of Sicily, the Italian National Research Council, the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC. With funding from the Italian government, Ri.MED is leading the construction of the Biomedical Research and Biotechnology Center in Carini, Sicily, where about 600 researchers are expected to work when the facility opens in 2021.