The Stunning Comeback of a Top Transplant Surgeon Who Got a New Heart at His Own Hospital

The Stunning Comeback of a Top Transplant Surgeon Who Got a New Heart at His Own Hospital

Dr. Robert Montgomery, almost one year post-transplant, at a vineyard in Casablanca, Chile, August 2019.

(Courtesy Montgomery)


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Robert Montgomery
Robert A. Montgomery, MD, DPhil, FACS, is the Director of the NYU Langone Transplant Institute and a Professor of Surgery. He received his Doctor of Medicine with Honor from the University of Rochester School of Medicine. He received his Doctor of Philosophy from Balliol College, The University of Oxford, England in Molecular Immunology. Montgomery completed his general surgical training, multi-organ transplantation fellowship, and postdoctoral fellowship in Human Molecular Genetics at Johns Hopkins. For over a decade he served as the Chief of Transplant Surgery and the Director of the Comprehensive Transplant Center at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Montgomery was part of the team that developed the laparoscopic procedure for live kidney donation, a procedure that has become the standard throughout the world. He and the Hopkins team conceived the idea of the Domino Paired Donation (kidney swaps), the Hopkins protocol for desensitization of incompatible kidney transplant patients, and performed the first chain of transplants started by an altruistic donor. He led the team that performed the first 2-way domino paired donation, 3-way paired donation, 3-way domino paired donation, 4-way paired donation, 4-way domino paired donation, 5-way domino paired donation, 6-way domino paired donation, 8-way multi-institutional domino paired donation, and co-led the first 10-way open chain. He is credited in the 2010 Guinness Book of World Records with the most kidney transplants performed in 1 day. He is considered a world expert on kidney transplantation for highly sensitized and ABO incompatible patients and is referred the most complex patients from around the globe.
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Patients voice hope and relief as FDA gives third-ever drug approval for ALS

On Sept. 29, the FDA approved Relyvrio, a new drug for ALS, even though a study of 137 ALS patients did not result in “substantial evidence” that Relyvrio was effective.

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At age 52, Glen Rouse suffered from arm weakness and a lot of muscle twitches. “I first thought something was wrong when I could not throw a 50-pound bag of dog food over the tailgate of my truck—something I use to do effortlessly,” said the 54-year-old resident of Anderson, California, about three hours north of San Francisco.

In August, Rouse retired as a forester for a private timber company, a job he had held for 31 years. The impetus: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, a progressive neuromuscular disease that is commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, named after the New York Yankees’ first baseman who succumbed to it less than a month shy of his 38th birthday in 1941. ALS eventually robs an individual of the ability to talk, walk, chew, swallow and breathe.

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Susan Kreimer
Susan Kreimer is a New York-based freelance journalist who has followed the landscape of health care since the late 1990s, initially as a staff reporter for major daily newspapers. She writes about breakthrough studies, personal health, and the business of clinical practice. Raised in the Chicago area, she holds a B.A. in Journalism/Mass Communication and French from the University of Iowa and an M.S. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
Friday Five Podcast: New drug may slow the rate of Alzheimer's disease

On September 27, pharmaceuticals Biogen and Eisai announced that their drug, lecanemab, can slow the rate of Alzheimer's disease, according to a clinical trial. Today's Friday Five episode covers this story and other health research over the month of September.

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The Friday Five covers important stories in health and science research that you may have missed - usually over the previous week, but today's episode is a lookback on important studies over the month of September.

Most recently, on September 27, pharmaceuticals Biogen and Eisai announced that a clinical trial showed their drug, lecanemab, can slow the rate of Alzheimer's disease. There are plenty of controversies and troubling ethical issues in science – and we get into many of them in our online magazine – but this news roundup focuses on scientific creativity and progress to give you a therapeutic dose of inspiration headed into the weekend and the new month.

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Matt Fuchs

Matt Fuchs is the editor-in-chief of Leaps.org. He is also a contributing reporter to the Washington Post and has written for the New York Times, Time Magazine, WIRED and the Washington Post Magazine, among other outlets. Follow him on Twitter @fuchswriter.