U forms transplant research exchange with South Korean institute

The University of Minnesota Medical School has formed a six-year partnership with ASAN Medical Center (AMC) in Seoul, South Korea. The ASAN-Minnesota Institute for Innovating Transplantation draws on the strengths of both groups — the U of M as a leader in stem cell science and ASAN Medical Center as a leader in living-donor liver transplantation — to create a research exchange that allows investigators from both institutions to share their knowledge and skills in an effort to advance medicine. 

The partners signed a joint research memorandum of understanding at AMC in a November 2015 ceremony. Under the agreement, AMC researchers will offer expertise acquired in 20 years of transplant and clinical trial work — AMC physicians perform about 300 living-donor transplants annually, according to C. J. Kim, M.D., Ph.D., chairman of the ASAN Institute for Life Sciences — and University researchers will provide their technology to AMC to develop artificial organs using stem cells, study tissue regeneration, and help improve transplant outcomes by inducing the immune system to better tolerate transplanted tissues or organs. 

The ceremony was attended by the U’s Brooks Jackson, M.D., M.B.A., dean of the Medical School; Jakub Tolar, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Stem Cell Institute; Timothy Pruett, M.D., chief of the Division of Transplantation; and John Lake, M.D., director of the liver transplantation program.  

Published on April 5, 2016

Timothy Pruett, M.D., and Jakub Tolar, M.D., Ph.D. (Photo: Stephanie Dunn)