Liver disease researchers hope to end long transplant list waits

RICHMOND, Va. – The hunt for a liver disease cure continues for researchers at the Stravitz-Sanyal Institute for Liver Disease and Metabolic Health.

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A recent gift of $104 million is accelerating that effort.

That could help future patients like Karen Luper. Her 20-year battle with liver disease led her to a rare option finding a living donor.

Nearly two decades ago, Karen started feeling tired and exhausted. Doctors determined she was having signs of cirrhosis of the liver.

After years of managing her symptoms, Karen needed a liver transplant, but time was ticking.

Instead of waiting for a donor, Karen was told there was another option on the table – a living donor transplant.

It was a life-saving choice her son, Brenton, decided to do to save his mom.

One obstacle stood in the way. Their blood types didn’t match. However, doctors had done similar operations before, and thought it could still be done.

In April 2020, doctors took a portion of Brenton’s liver to donate to his mom. It was a rare operation – saving her life.

The vision for Karen’s longtime specialist, Dr. Todd Stravitz, is a future without having to wait on the transplant list.

His recent $104 million gift to the Stravitz-Sanyal Institute for Liver Disease and Metabolic Health looks to find other treatments for liver disease.

It’s research that could help future patients like Karen enjoy more days with the ones they love.

The $104-million gift will also go towards investing in gene therapy research and doubling capacity for care.

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