Bpt_7i7CEAI9wD5We’re proud to announce that New York Magazine has chosen 15 faculty members from the Columbia University Department of Surgery for its 2014 Best Doctors list.

Michael Argenziano, MD (Cardiothoracic Surgery)
Jeffrey Ascherman, MD (Plastic Surgery)
Emile A. Bacha, MD (Cardiothoracic Surgery)
Marc Bessler, MD (Bariatric Surgery)
John A. Chabot, MD (GI/Endocrine Surgery)
Jean C. Emond, MD (Abdominal Organ Transplant Surgery)
Daniel L. Feingold, MD (Colon & Rectal Surgery)
Lyall A. Gorenstein, MD (Thoracic & Cardiac Surgery)
Tomoaki Kato, MD (Abdominal Organ Transplant Surgery)
James A. Lee, MD (GI/Endocrine Surgery)
William Middlesworth, MD (Pediatric Surgery)
Nicholas J. Morrissey, MD (Vascular Surgery)
Yoshifuma Naka, MD, PhD (Cardiac & Thoracic Surgery )
Mehmet C. Oz, MD (Cardiothoracic Surgery)
Craig R. Smith, MD (Cardiothoracic Surgery)
Joshua R. Sonett, MD (Cardiothoracic Surgery)

For the full list of physicians and ranking criteria, visit



Yoshifumi Naka, MD, PhD

New-York Presbyterian/Columbia University is participating in a trial that is evaluating the use of human bone-marrow (Mesenchymal) derived stem cells (AC607), for the treatment of acute kidney injury (ACT-AKI). Naka, Yoshifumi, MD,PhD, Professor of Surgery and Director of both the Cardiac Transplantation Program and the Mechanical Circulatory Support Program is the principle investigator for the study sponsored by AlloCure, Inc (Burlington, MA).

What is the ACT-AKI clinical trial?

ACT-AKI is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter clinical trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of AC607 in cardiac surgery subjects who have laboratory evidence of post-operative acute kidney injury (AKI). AlloCure will enroll approximately 200 cardiac surgery subjects at leading tertiary care centers in the United States.

What are the effects of AKI?

AKI is a relatively common condition and is often associated with serious consequences. Recent epidemiologic assessments indicate that approximately 5 to 7% of all hospitalized patients may develop some degree of AKI. Moreover, when AKI occurs, the complications are potentially catastrophic both from patient and health-economic perspectives. AKI is associated with significantly increased in-hospital morbidity, mortality, and associated costs. While there have been a number of strategies evaluated for the treatment of AKI, no effective therapies are available beyond supportive measures including dialysis. AlloCure’s innovative cell therapy, AC607, offers the potential for improving outcomes in patients afflicted with this serious condition.

How is AC607 manufactured?

The human mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) used to formulate AC607 are derived and expanded from bone marrow obtained from healthy adult donors using a proprietary and mature state-of-the-art manufacturing process. These cells possess unique characteristics that make them ideal as a potential therapeutic including:

      • Immune privileged – avoids detection by the patient’s immune system
      • No donor matching – administered as an off-the-shelf product, obviating the need for blood or tissue typing
      • Genetically stable – not transformed or induced

What are the potential benefits of AC607 in treating AKI?

MSCs Mediate Pro-Angiogenic

AlloCure has conducted extensive non-clinical studies demonstrating that the administration of allogeneic MSC prior to or after the development of AKI effectively enhances kidney repair and improves survival. These studies demonstrated that following AKI, the damaged kidney expresses increased levels of stromal-cell derived factor 1 (SDF-1). SDF-1 acts as a homing signal for MSC, bringing them to the site of injury to carry out their function. After reaching the injured kidney, MSC mediate anti-inflammatory and organ repair processes via the secretion of beneficial paracrine (cell to cell communication) factors, including vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and others, which instruct the local damaged kidney cells to divide and survive rather than undergo apoptosis (cell death) and subsequent fibrosis. Notably, MSC are in residence in the injured kidney for only a short period of time and do not differentiate and re-populate the injured organ. The paracrine mediators produced by the stem cells act to preserve and restore kidney function following AKI via several mechanisms, including:

      • Anti-apoptotic (preventing existing cells from dying)
      • Mitogenic (promoting cellular reproduction)
      • Anti-inflammatory
      • Angiogenic (promoting vascularization of the tissue)

Due to these unique qualities, AC607 represents a promising approach for the treatment of AKI.

“The occurrence of AKI in patients undergoing cardiac surgery often has critical and costly consequences, yet we are still lacking approved remedies other than supportive care,” according to Dr. Naka. “AC607 has the potential to become that remedy, and the ACT-AKI Trial is moving this field in the right direction.”

For more information about the ACT-AKI trial or other clinical trials at New-York Presbyterian/Columbia University, please visit our clinical trials homepage.


U.S. News & World Report Recognizes 33 Top Doctors at NYP/Columbia Department of Surgery

September 21, 2012

TweetCongratulations to the thirty three surgeons at the Department of Surgeon for being recognized by U.S. News & World Report in their 2012 list of Top Doctors. Of these top-ranked surgeons, U.S. News further identified seventeen physicians as being in the top one percent in the nation in their specialties. U.S. News & World Report’s […]

Read the full article →

NY Magazine Recognizes 16 Top Docs at NYP/Columbia

June 7, 2012

TweetCongratulations to sixteen surgeons at the Department of Surgery for being named top doctors by New York Magazine. This annual list recognizes 1160 physicians from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut who are considered top in their fields of expertise. This year, the magazine recognized faculty from nine divisions at NYP/Columbia Department of Surgery: Plastic […]

Read the full article →

Heart transplant patient takes up new career; develops nutrition product to help other patients

May 29, 2012

TweetMost of us probably would not think of starting an ice cream company as a serious humanitarian gesture. But for Adrian Pace, his decision to leave a lucrative profession as hedge fund manager to start a healthy gelato company was just that. This is the story of Adrian Pace: a husband and father of two […]

Read the full article →

Cheney’s Heart Transplant Highlights Issues in Heart Transplantation

April 16, 2012

TweetWhen he received a heart transplant March 24, 2012, former Vice President Dick Cheney joined about 2300 Americans who receive the lifesaving gift of a donor heart each year. After a 20-month wait on the organ waitlist, Cheney was fortunate; the shortage of donor organs remains an extreme problem, and many patients die before an […]

Read the full article →

NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia Surgeons Are First in NYC Area to Implant Total Artificial Heart

December 14, 2011

TweetTotal Artificial Heart Improves Patient Survival to Transplant While Reducing Some Risks of Transplant Surgery Surgeons at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center performed the first Total Artificial Heart implant in the New York City area to replace a patient’s dying heart. “For patients who will die without a heart transplant, the Total Artificial Heart helps […]

Read the full article →

Cardiac Device Update: Wireless LVAD in the Pipeline

August 11, 2011

TweetFor some patients with end-stage heart failure, left ventricular assist devices (LVADS) provide a life-saving option. These artificial heart pumps take over the function of the left ventricle in the heart, so that they can be sustained until a donor heart becomes available for transplantation – or perhaps indefinitely. Risks associated with LVADS are significant, […]

Read the full article →