Global Liver Institute Remembers the Contributions of Dr. Thomas Starzl

Starzl’s innovative research and contributions to the medical field provide hope for today’s liver transplant donors and recipients

Washington, DC- The Global Liver Institute mourns the loss of Dr. Thomas Starzl, the "father of transplantation,” who died at the age of 90 on Saturday, March 4. Starzl pioneered liver transplant surgery when he performed the world’s first liver transplant in 1963, and the world’s first successful liver transplant in 1967 and pioneered the development and adoption of FK506 (tacrolimus) , the most commonly-used  transplant immunosuppressant starting in 1989.  Since Starzl’s first successful liver transplant, thousands of lives have been saved and improved through liver transplant surgery. Starzl developed the surgical techniques necessary for both donor and recipient operations of liver transplants.

“As a transplant recipient I owe a great debt to the brilliance and persistence of Dr. Starzl,” said Donna Cryer, CEO of Global Liver Institute. “His pioneering work in both surgery and immunosuppression have allowed hundreds of thousands, like myself, to enjoy long and full lives.”

Winner of more than 200 awards and honors including the National Medicine of Science, Starzl served as the Distinguished University Professor of Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine whose Transplant Institute is named for Starzl. The impact of Starzl’s research spans 2281 publications in a total of 248 journals, thousands of surgeons trained, and thousands of  liver patients successfully transplanted. He is also the author of The Puzzle People, a book based on his experience working with transplant patients.

The Global Liver Institute will honor Starzl’s legacy through our efforts to serve the 14, 364 people currently waiting for liver transplants in the U.S and then of thousands more around the world., optimize the health of the hundreds of thousands who have received the gift of life, support innovations such as 3-D printing of organs, and promote liver health to alleviate the need for liver transplants altogether.