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Mother’s stem cells likely key to treating genetic disease before birth

UCSF researchers have tackled a decade-long scientific conundrum, and their discovery is expected to lead to significant advances in using stem cells to treat genetic diseases before birth. Through a series of mouse model experiments, the research team determined that a mother’s immune response prevents a fetus from accepting transplanted blood stem cells, and yet this response can be overcome simply by transplanting cells harvested from the mother herself.

Hanmin Lee, MD, announced as the new Director of the Fetal Treatment Center

The Department of Surgery at UCSF is pleased to announce Hanmin Lee, MD, Associate Professor in Residence, as the Director of the Fetal Treatment Center. An expert and pioneer in the area of minimally invasive surgery, Dr. Lee has developed and refined many of the fetal endoscopic techniques now utilized in prenatal intervention, including selective fetoscopic laser surgery in the treatment of twin-twin transfusion syndrome and percutaneous fetal balloon tracheal occlusion for congenital diaphragmatic hernia. As the new Director of the Fetal Treatment Center, Dr. Lee will continue the Center's and its co-founder Dr. Michael Harrison's pioneering spirit of multidisciplinary research and innovation to improve our understanding of fetal disease and further advance the treatment and management of infants and children. Dr. Harrison will continue as Director Emeritus of the Fetal Treatment Center.

Fetal Treatment Center Patients Reunite at UCSF

Children who are survivors of a life-threatening congenital defect called congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) after being treated at UCSF’s Fetal Treatment Center were reunited last Friday.

Fetal Surgery for Spina Bifida More Effective Than Operating After Birth

Diana Farmer, surgeon-in-chief at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital, says this landmark study offers real hope for improving the lives of children with spina bifida worldwide. Thirty years ago, the first human fetal surgery was performed at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Now, a randomized controlled trial has proven definitively that fetal surgery can help certain patients before birth.

Father of Fetal Surgery Looks Ahead

In an interview with UCSF Public Affairs, Harrison says that it all began with a clinical necessity—to save the lives of babies who would be unable to sustain life once they were born.

Desperate Measures

Twenty-five years after the first fetal surgery was performed, doctors and ethicists are trying to learn whether and when the drastic procedures work—and whether they're worth the frightening risks.

Children’s Hospital Welcomes Babies, Families to Reunion

Princesses held court and superheroes saved the day in Saunders Court on Saturday when children with their families joined the nurses, social workers, doctors and others who cared for them as babies at the UCSF Children’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) reunion.