OMAHA, Neb. (FOX 42 KPTM) — University of Nebraska Medical Center says it all started with a conversation in a morgue in 2012.
According to UNMC the Douglas County coroner was talking to Alexey Kamenskiy, Ph.D., and Jason MacTaggart, M.D., associate professors of surgery at UNMC about the organ and tissue donor organization, Live On Nebraska.
That conversation led to discussions and ultimately a collaboration that has created the world’s largest interlinked database of human arteries providing mechanical, structural and demographic characteristics to researchers.
This collaboration with a community organization is one that UNMC says offers life and hope.
Live On Nebraska was recognized earlier this month with the presentation of UNMC’s Community Service to Research Award at the Distinguished Scientist Awards Ceremony.
Live On Nebraska, formerly known as the Nebraska Organ Recovery System, provides UNMC’s surgery department with human arterial tissues from organ and tissue donors.
Live On Nebraska is one of 58 organ-procurement organizations throughout the country.
Live On Nebraska is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to saving and healing lives through organ and tissue donation. It serves Nebraska and Pottawattamie County in Iowa.
"In the past six years, Live On Nebraska has provided UNMC laboratories with arteries from 593 human subjects in a wide range of ages and continues to provide tissue almost daily," said Dr. Kamenskiy.
“The critical data we have obtained from this collaboration enables us to develop exciting therapies that improve the health and wellness of our community,” he said. “It’s a very unique resource that few academic institutions in the world have access to.”
The collaboration provided the data required to secure $5 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense to work on projects that required human arterial tissues.
Dr. Kamenskiy said a small fragment of these data have been published in 10 peer-reviewed manuscripts and presented at countless professional meetings.
“Many more grant and manuscript submissions using these new exciting findings of human artery function and pathophysiology will follow in years to come,” he predicted.
Dr. Kamenskiy presented the award to Live On Nebraska’s Kyle Herber, CEO, and Tom Woodford, chief operating officer.
“This is a big honor for us, but the real credit belongs to donors and their families who want to advance research,” Herber said. “This research is possible because of them. Credit also goes to our staff who recover those precious gifts and honor the wishes of the donors.”