Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Celebrating 30 years of lung transplantation

On November 7th, 1983 Dr. Joel Cooper performed the world's first successful lung transplant and all are invited to a special dinner taking place Wednesday, November 6th, 2013 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto to commemorate the 30th anniversary of this stunning achievement at Toronto General Hospital.

The evening will be hosted by Dr. Keshavjee, Director of The Toronto Lung Transplant Program and Surgeon General of The University Health Network. Dr. Keshavjee is the surgeon who performed my lung transplant over 11 years ago and I look forward to attending this celebration.

Emceed by Ben Mulroney, A Celebration of Inspiration promises to be a fun evening of dining and entertainment. Anyone who would like to attend, please visit www.celebrationofinspiration.ca to purchase tickets.

DrJoel Cooper is now Chief of the Division of Thoracic Surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA. At the time of the first successful lung transplant Dr. Cooper was head of thoracic surgery at University of Toronto.

I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with Dr. Joel Cooper and he was kind enough to tell me the story of the first successful lung transplant. Until that time 44 lung transplants had been attempted worldwide and none of the patients lived more than a few weeks. 

Dr. Cooper had been experimenting with a new drug for treating organ rejection, cyclosporine, and results on tests with dogs were promising. The patient, Tom Hall, 58, was dying from pulmonary fibrosis and had little time left to live. He agreed to be patient number 45 and the rest is history. Previously, the only drug available to doctors was prednisone, but what they didn't know was that although it was a powerful anti-rejection drug it was also a powerful anti-inflammatory drug that prevented the inflammation necessary for wound healing and the airway connections fell apart after transplant. But cyclosporine worked for Tom Hall, who became the world's first lung transplant survivor and cyclosporine is still used today. (I take it twice daily myself).

Visit www.celebrationofinspiration.ca to purchase tickets for the Nov 6th celebration in Toronto.

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