Doctors call Vilma Zarate’s role as an administrative analyst in University of California, San Francisco’s fetal surgery department invaluable to both faculty and patients. For faculty, Zarate carefully crafts grant and funding applications and coordinates clinical trials. Patients, on the other hand, benefit from the clear and thoughtful consent documents Zarate creates to help them understand the risks of cutting-edge medicine.
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.
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.
A report by Diana Farmer, MD, chief of pediatric surgery at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital, has highlighted a possible link between gastric bypass surgery in adolescent girls and an increased risk for neural tube defects in their future children.