Timeline

1950s

1957: David M. Hume, M.D., performs first identical twin kidney transplant at Medical College of Virginia.

1960s

1962: Under Hume's guidance, the kidney transplant program officially begins, and MCV Hospitals' Clinical Transplant Center — the first of its kind in the United States — opens.

August 1962: Virginia's first living related-donor kidney transplant is performed.

October 1962: The first cadaver kidney transplant — now called deceased donor — takes place.

1963: The first "second" human kidney transplant (retransplant) is performed at MCV.

1964: The Clinical Transplant Center receives a dedicated unit at MCV in West Hospital. In 2004, it moves to its current location in Main Hospital.

1964: The first successful "xenotransplant" of a chimpanzee kidney into a human is performed at MCV. Although xenotransplantation is not used today, it was a landmark event in the history of transplantation.

1965: MCV's HLA tissue-typing laboratory — one of the first of its kind in the world — opens. The lab, now headed by headed by Pamela Kimball, Ph.D., is still considered one of the top tissue-typing labs in the world.

1966: The world's first baby born to a mother who received a kidney transplant is born at MCV.

1967: Hume and H.M. Lee, M.D., show the clinical relationship of kidney allograft rejection and histocompatibility matching (tissue typing) at MCV.

1968: Hume performs the first liver transplant and the first MCV liver transplant recipient — with one-year survival — is reported.

1968: MCV establishes one of the nation's first transplant surgical training programs. More than 300 transplant surgeons have trained here over the past 45 years.

1968: Virginia's first human heart transplant is performed successfully at MCV by Richard R. Lower, M.D.

1969: MCV Hospitals helps establish the Southeastern Organ Procurement Foundation, the nation's first computerized donor-recipient matching system and the precursor to UNOS, which today manages the nation's organ transplant system.

1970s

1972: In the landmark "Tucker Trial" about a 1968 human heart transplant, the case against VCU surgeons for using another man's beating heart for transplant is dismissed. The case defines for the world the idea of "brain death" as the modern definition of death.

1973: Following Hume's untimely death, Lee becomes chief of transplantation at VCU and remains in the position until 1994.

1977: The first long-distance transport of a deceased-donor heart from Indianapolis to VCU results in a successful tranplant. This defines "national organ sharing," which has continued to thrive under UNOS.

1980s

1984: The VCU liver transplant program is activated aggressively under the guidance of Lee with the availability of new immunosuppression and improved results.

1984: As president of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons, Lee pushes the National Organ Transplant Act into federal law and establishes rigorous ethical standards for transplant candidate listing and transplant surgeons' minimum qualifications.

1990s

1990: The Hume-Lee Transplant Unit moves to North Hospital.

1992: Virginia's first successful "reduced sized" segmental adult orthotopic liver transplantation is performed at VCU.

1993: The world's first cryopreserved human liver cell transplantation performed in a patient with liver failure at VCU is successful in sustaining life as a bridge to whole organ transplantation. VCU becomes a world leader in liver cell transplantation.

1993: The pancreas transplant program begins at VCU.

December 1997: The transplant surgery team, together with the transplant hepatology group, begins using multimodal therapies to treat liver tumors, leading to increased survival rates among patients.

1998: Virginia's first living related-donor segmental orthotopic liver transplant is performed at VCU and is successful in saving the life of a 2-year-old girl.

July 1998: Robert Fisher, M.D., director of the liver transplant program, performs the world's first liver transplant from an unrelated living donor, effectively broadening the pool of potential donors for patients on the waiting list.

2000s

September 2000: The transplant program initiates a laparoscopic donor nephrectomy program, which offers an alternative surgical option to kidney donors.

July 2001: Virginia's first vascular access program is developed under the direction of Marc P. Posner, M.D., professor and head of the Division of Transplantation Surgery.

July 2001: The transplant team performs the first pancreas-after-kidney transplant.

March 2002: The transplant center is re-designated and given the official name of the Hume-Lee Transplant Center by the VCU Health System Board.

2002: The National Institutes of Health selects the Hume-Lee Transplant Center to participate in the first multicenter liver transplant study to track living donor outcomes, which continues today. Results will be used to set future standards for transplantation.

August 2003: The kidney transplant program initiates the desensitization protocol to decrease the chance of organ rejection in recipients who are difficult to transplant.

2004: The transplant unit moves from North Hospital to Main Hospital and expands to hold 27 inpatient beds making it one of the largest on the East Coast.

Summer 2004: The transplant program performs the first paired-donor kidney exchange, one of 27 performed in the country that year.

Fall 2004: The transplant program initiates the living-deceased donor exchange for kidney transplant recipients. Only 13 of this type of transplant are reported in the country that year.

2008: The Hume-Lee Cell Transplant Facility is built for hepatocyte and pancreatic islet cell transplant programs in the Virginia BioTechnology Research Park. Also, an expansion of the tissue-typing laboratory is completed.

2009: The center is the first lab in the country to receive FDA approval for hepatocyte transplantation under the direction of Robert A. Fisher, M.D.

2010s

2010: After the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid release rigorous new standards for transplantation, the Hume-Lee Transplant Center is recertified in all six of its pediatric and adult transplant programs.

2012: The deceased-donor and living-donor paired kidney transplant program is established.

March 2013: The Hume-Lee Transplant Center becomes the first transplant program in the U.S. to receive the silver-level Beacon Award for Excellence from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses.