Monday, July 6, 2015

UPMC Transplant Services - Developing a New Envisioned Future

Referencing Collin’s and Porras’ article, “Building Your Company’s Vision” we can see in the  article “UPMC Exploring Future of Eye Transplants” that UPMC’s Transplant Services department is working to develop a new envisioned future. In the article, the team has identified a new Big Hairy Audacious Goal, led by transplant surgeon, Dr. Vijay Gorantla. The team believes that they will be able to achieve whole eye transplants in humans. Dr. Gorantla led efforts for UPMC’s hand and arm transplant programs, but acknowledges that eyes have specific challenges. However, he is convinced that whole eye transplants are a real possibility that could take place in the next 20 years and that UPMC’s team can make this a reality. Clearly this is not a sure bet, the chance of failure is high, but the team believes they have a possibility to achieve it and the way it can transform the world for people with vision impairments makes the risks worth it.

Other research institutions have taken an approach of identifying more short term and achievable methods of treating eye trauma. These include options such as developing telemedicine techniques for field operations that would call upon remote eye specialists, either through relaying their insight to field surgeons or by utilizing robotic surgery devices. While these will no doubt improve circumstances for quick treatment, particularly for individuals like soldiers who may not have ready access to an eye specialist, they are not nearly as transformative as a full eye transplant would be.

The following quote by Dr. Gorantla could be described as the team’s Vivid Description, “For all of us, loss of vision is like losing ourselves, and for some of us, it is like death. Congenital blindness is different because you grow up with it and you build accommodating strategies. But for an adult to lose vision, it’s extremely challenging. If you say to most people I can give you the possibility to regain 30 percent of your vision just to regain some independence, they will say yes.” This clearly identifies the goal the team is trying to achieve. By regaining even a percentage of a person’s eyesight, you have the power to holistically restore them.  


In identifying this Big Hairy Audacious Goal, they have selected a target that aligns specifically with the Transplant Services department’s core values, clearly displayed on their webpage as Innovation, Experience, and Hope. While the project is still in nascent stages, currently transplanting on rats and pigs, it is an innovative approach that relies upon the experience of a well-developed transplant team that will provide many sufferers of eye trauma hope for a new beginning. 

Roth, M. (2015, July 6). UPMC exploring future of eye transplants. Retrieved from Pittsburgh Post Gazette: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/2015/07/06/UPMC-exploring-future-of-eye-transplants/stories/201507060003
UPMC. (2015, July 6). UPMC Transplant Services. Retrieved from UPMC: http://www.upmc.com/Services/transplant/Pages/default.aspx

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