Ms. Chelsea Bauckman
USAMRDC Public Affairs Officer
For Immediate Release -- February 5, 2021
DOD Funded Research Leads to World's First Successful Face and Double Hand Transplant
Fort Detrick, Maryland – Surgeons working on a Department of Defense-funded clinical trial performed the world's first successful face and double hand transplant on the same patient.
A team of more than 140 medical professionals from New York University's Langone Health, completed the 23-hour operation using 3D planning and printing procedures, ultimately restoring quality of life and function to the recipient, Joe DiMeo of Clark, New Jersey. The ground-breaking operation was funded in part by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command's Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs Reconstructive Transplant Research Program.
"The U.S. Army Medical Research and Development command is proud to be a part of such innovative efforts, that will not only change Mr. DiMeo's life but also have the potential to make a significant impact on the overall quality of life for injured Service Members, veterans and the American public," said BG Michael Talley, commanding general of USAMRDC and Fort Detrick.
In 2018, DiMeo was badly burned in a car accident which left him with third-degree burns covering 80% of his body and face and requiring his fingertips to be amputated. While the surgery was performed last August, the results were announced recently as DiMeo reached the critical six-month recovery mark.
"This is a dramatic example of the impact of the work that the CDMRP's Reconstructive Transplant Research Program funds. The RTRP challenges the scientific community to design innovative research that will foster new directions for and address neglected issues in the field of reconstructive transplantation, specifically focused on Vascularized Composite Allotransplantation research," said COL Sarah B. Goldman, director of CDMRP.
NYU's Dr. Daniel Ceradini received a 2.5 million dollar award from CDMRP's RTRP in 2015. He and his team are investigating the utility of 3D computer surgical planning and 3D-printed, patient-specific cutting guides for optimizing functional and aesthetic outcomes of transplant procedures. This extensive planning and use of patient specific guides contributed to the success of the surgery. Dr. Eduardo D. Rodriguez, director of the Face Transplant Program at NYU Langone led the surgical team.
About Army Futures Command:
Army Futures Command leads the persistent modernization of the Army in order to provide future warfighters with the concepts, capabilities, and organizational designs needed to dominate a future battlefield. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, AFC has more than 26,000 people worldwide. The Army's six modernization priorities are the focus of our eight Cross Functional Teams: Long Range Precision Fires; Next Generation Combat Vehicle; Future Vertical Lift; Army Network; Air and Missile Defense; Soldier Lethality; Assured Positioning Navigation Timing; and, Synthetic Training Environment. The Artificial Intelligence Task Force and Army Applications Lab also support our efforts. Collaborating with entrepreneurs, scientists, industry, and academia, AFC strives to create the best solutions to keep Soldiers safe and America strong. For more information, visit: www.army.mil/futures/.
The U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command is the Army's medical materiel developer, with responsibility for medical research, development, and acquisition. USAMRDC's expertise in these critical areas helps establish and maintain the capabilities the Army needs remain ready and lethal on the battlefield. Ensuring our armed forces remain in optimal health and are equipped to protect themselves from disease and injury, particularly on the battlefield, is the job of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command. The Command is headquartered at Fort Detrick, MD, with 8 subordinate commands located throughout the world. Visit: mrdc.health.mil.
The Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs fills research gaps by funding high impact, high risk and high gain projects that other agencies may not venture to fund. While individual programs are unique in their focus, all of the programs managed by the CDMRP share the common goal of advancing paradigm shifting research, solutions that will lead to cures or improvements in patient care, or breakthrough technologies and resources for clinical benefit. The CDMRP strives to transform healthcare for Service Members and the American public through innovative and impactful research. For more information, visit https://cdmrp.health.mil/default.