Cedars-Sinai immunotherapy expert honored for work in kidney transplantation
LOS ANGELES (Aug. 8, 2014) – Ashley Anh Vo, PharmD, administrative director of the Transplant Immunotherapy Program at the Comprehensive Transplant Center at Cedars-Sinai, has been named the 2014 Clinician of Distinction by the American Society of Transplantation for her work in developing anti-rejection drug protocols for patients.
“This prestigious award recognizes Dr.Vo’s clinical excellence and the creative scholarship she brings to the field of transplantation,” said Andrew S. Klein MD, FACS, MBA, director of the Cedars-Sinai Comprehensive Transplant Center. “This is a unique achievement that represents her dedication and tireless work on behalf of transplant patients.”
Vo received the award at the recent World Transplant Congress in San Francisco, where Cedars-Sinai kidney transplant clinicians and researchers contributed nearly 30 abstracts and presentations to the international gathering. One of the most highly anticipated presentations involved preliminary research of a new anti-rejection drug known as C1-INH by Stanley C. Jordan, MD, director of kidney transplantation and transplant immunology at Cedars Sinai. Patients in the small trial who received C1-INH after transplantation developed fewer complications.
Vo’s research in immunotherapy began in 1994 when she became the transplant pharmacist for Cedars-Sinai and joined a National Institutes of Health investigation headed by Jordan. Since then, Vo and Jordan have collaborated extensively, producing the 2004 landmark study that identified new anti-rejection treatments.
That study tested IVIG, intravenous immunoglobulin, as an effective therapy for lowering a patient’s level of HLA antibodies, which can cause a patient’s body to reject a transplanted organ. Patients who have been pregnant, been on kidney dialysis or received many blood transfusions often develop HLA antibodies, making it very hard for them to have a successful kidney transplant.
“Dr. Vo has played a key role in our research identifying how IVIG treatment significantly reduces the long amount of time a patient can remain on dialysis, suffering, waiting for a suitable transplant because their HLA antibody levels put them at a high risk of organ rejection,” said Jordan. “Her work has been an important asset to the entire field of organ transplantation.”