Research at the Transplant Center

Massachusetts General Hospital has the largest hospital-based research program in the United States, funding a unique portfolio of innovative research that has produced major advances in transplantation and immunology.

Purified islets for transplant

Our Research Advances Care

Part of a world-renowned academic medical center, the Massachusetts General Hospital Transplant Center is an innovator in improving the lives of transplant patients in New England and worldwide.

From the breakthrough transplant procedure in tolerance induction to avoid lifelong dependence on immunosuppressive drugs, to tissue engineering, to studies of xenotransplantation, to new protocols that reduce wait times and shorten hospital stays for lung transplant patients, our research discoveries continue to revolutionize transplant medicine around the globe.

Our research focuses on:

  • Reducing or preventing organ rejection
  • Eliminating infectious disease in transplantation
  • Addressing organ incompatibility
  • Enabling patients to live drug free after transplantation
  • Creating new tissues using a patient’s own cells

View a slideshow of research milestones at the Transplant Center

Advanced Treatments Through Clinical Trials

We offer some of the most innovative clinical trials in the country. This clinical research helps move important laboratory discoveries to the patient’s bedside and gives patients the opportunity to partner with their physicians to advance care. Some of our recent discoveries have already been put into practice to improve the success rates of kidney transplants. View our clinical trials

What Will We Discover Next?


We are evaluating how a variety of new drugs, medical devices and therapies may increase survival rates and provide alternatives for heart disease patients who are not transplant candidates. We are also investigating whether gene therapy may help reverse heart failure. Our work includes novel approaches to heart care, including noninvasive diagnostic tools and earlier interventions. Learn more about the Heart Transplant Program


Our groundbreaking work in tolerance induction means that some patients can now avoid taking lifelong immunosuppressive drugs after kidney transplantation. We continue to investigate new approaches to improve transplant success rates, including a new procedure for kidney transplantation between persons with incompatible blood types. We are also working to increase the pool of available donors and enhance quality of life post-transplant. Learn more about the Kidney Transplant Program


The Transplant Center offers highly advanced treatments through clinical trials. Current trials involve using a liver assist device in bridge therapy and novel immunosuppressive drugs to decrease hepatitis C reinfection rates after transplantation. In addition to pioneering new treatments for patients with liver failure, we are also working to improve the success of liver transplants through therapies that treat organ rejection. Learn more about the Liver Transplant Program

LungOur work in this area explores both lung transplantation and the diseases that cause the need for transplants. Developing treatments include stem cell transplantation to better understand how airways heal and improve transplant results. We are also part of a multicenter trial into a new drug to treat pulmonary fibrosis. Learn more about the Lung Transplant Program


The Transplant Center is one of the few centers in the world to investigate islet cell transplantation, a less invasive alternative to pancreas transplants for patients with type 1 diabetes. Upcoming clinical trials will focus on helping these patients become insulin independent. Learn more about the Pancreas/Islet Transplant Program

Organ PreservationInnovative studies are underway to improve the preservation and function of organs from deceased donors. In the future, ongoing laboratory studies may help solve the organ shortage by uncovering alternative sources for organs. Learn more about the Tissue Engineering & Organ Fabrication Lab

Explore Transplant Center education opportunities

Part of the largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, the Transplant Center trains residents, fellows and current providers in innovative therapies every year.

Support the Transplant Center

When you support the Transplant Center, you are making a significant contribution to advancing care at the hospital.


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