A gift to the Department of Surgery helps our physicians and scientists find new treatments and cures for serious diseases.
Dr. Tippi MacKenzie is an Assistant Professor of Surgery at the UCSF Division of Pediatric Surgery and the Fetal Treatment Center. Dr. MacKenzie obtained her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at Harvard, then came to the Bay Area for medical school at Stanford. She did her surgical residency at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. During this time, she took three years to do research on fetal surgery and in utero stem cell transplantation at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Following residency, she returned to CHOP for her clinical pediatric surgery fellowship.
Dr. MacKenzie's clinical interests include fetal surgery, advanced laparoscopy, and endocrine and biliary surgery.
Dr Tippi MacKenzie has an active laboratory and is a member of the Biomedical Sciences Program and the Institute for Regeneration Medicine. Her research focus is on mechanisms of tolerance induction following in utero stem cell transplantation.
Children with a rare, life-threatening disease that is the most common cause of neonatal liver failure - biliary atresia - better tolerate liver transplants from their mothers than from their fathers, according to a UCSF-led study......"This result is exciting because it supports the concept that trafficking of cells between the mother and the fetus has functional significance long after the pregnancy is over," said senior author Tippi MacKenzie, M.D., assistant professor of pediatric surgery at UCSF and a fetal surgeon at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital. "This is a topic we are actively studying both in animal models and in patients who have fetal surgery. Practically speaking, this study may allow us to counsel families in which both the mother and father are willing and able to be a donor."
Dr. Amar Nijagal was awarded the M. Judah Folkman Memorial Award by the American Pediatric Surgical Association at the 2012 APSA Annual meeting for his work entitled "Fetal Intervention Triggers the Activation of Paternal Antigen-Specific Maternal T Cells." Dr. Nijagal is currently a General Surgery resident at UCSF and has worked in Dr. Tippi MacKenzie's laboratory in the UCSF Division of Pediatric Surgery for the past three years. In 2011, he was also awarded the M. Judah Folkman Memorial Award for his presentation on "The Maternal Adaptive Immune Response Against Paternal Antigens Incites Fetal Demise After Fetal Intervention". This award is bestowed annually for the most outstanding research presentation given during the APSA Annual Meeting. Dr. Eric Jelin also received this award in 2009 for his work on the "Effects of Notch4 On Lung Vascular Remodeling."
Stem cell transplantation may hold the promise to treating many diseases before birth such as sickle cell anemia and muscular dystrophy. But first, researchers need to overcome many barriers, including rejection of stem cell transplants by the fetus. MacKenzie's lab recently discovered that mothers' T cells are responsible for rejecting the grafts and that this rejection may be avoided by using stem cells from the mother.
For years, surgeons have been seeking ways of operating on babies in the womb, reasoning that medical abnormalities are easier to address while the fetus is still developing. Now, for the first time, a large clinical trial has shown that fetal surgery can also benefit infants with non life-threatening conditions. The eight-year study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that babies born with myelomeningocele, the most common form of spina bifida, a debilitating spinal abnormality, were twice as likely to walk and experienced fewer neurological problems with in utero repair versus standard post-natal repair.
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.
UCSF announces the formation of the Institute for Fetal and Neonatal Health symposium brings together clinicians and basic scientists involved in different aspects of development and fetal intervention.
As a gifted pianist in high school, Assistant Professor of Surgery Tippi MacKenzie, MD, spent every Saturday studying music at Julliard. This musical training was good preparation for her current work as a researcher and surgeon.
Read the full article [pdf 185KB]