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By advancing scientific research in microsurgery and transplantation, Cleveland Clinic is setting new standards of care.

Maria Siemionow, MD, PhD, Director of Plastic Surgery Research and Head of Microsurgery Training, has dedicated her professional life to researching and developing methods physicians will use to substantially help patients with severe disfiguration.  She is determined to find an alternative to anti-rejection drugs currently on the market.

Dr. Siemionow and her team are studying less aggressive anti-rejection drugs that produce minimal side effects, with a goal to get organ recipients off of anti-rejection therapy more quickly.  They are researching new “immune tolerance” technology that uses the donor’s bone marrow stem cells to help the recipient recognize the new tissue as “self,” which could greatly reduce or even eliminate the need for immunosuppression medications.  The first human studies of this new treatment began in July 2010.

Additional research in the microsurgery laboratories is focused on microcirculation, nerve regeneration, wound healing and biomechanical engineering to develop a tissue oxygen sensor for monitoring free flaps and compartment syndromes.