Research Hailed for Making the World a Better Place

January 3, 2020    |  

The University of Maryland School of Medicine is being recognized by a national news publication for groundbreaking biomedical research that “is making the world a better place.” The publication, WIRED magazine, is featuring the innovative work of UMSOM’s Samuel Tisherman, MD, professor of surgery, and the University of Maryland R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center on a list of 19 items or advances recognized in 2019. 

Other items on the WIRED list include: the first woman spacewalk; fastest marathon time in history; quantum processor solving first problem that would take 10,000 years for a supercomputer to solve; car battery built to go 1 million miles; first electric aircraft; and prevention of HIV transmission, among others.

Tisherman’s research, featured as the subject of a TEDx talk last year at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, focuses on the management of severe hemorrhagic shock and cardiac arrest, using an innovative technique called Emergency Preservation and Resuscitation (EPR). This technique involves infusing ice-cold saline into the aorta (the major artery carrying blood from the heart), where it circulates throughout the body to quickly drop body temperature to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Tisherman and his colleagues are conducting a clinical trial of EPR, funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, at Shock Trauma, the coordinating center for the study. The study involves 20 participants, with 10 receiving EPR and 10 receiving standard resuscitation, to compare the outcomes of the two groups. They hope to have results by the end of next year. Thomas Scalea, MD, the Honorable Francis X. Kelly Distinguished Professor in Trauma Surgery and director of the Program in Trauma, is a co-leader of the study.

The research also has been featured nationally and internationally in The New York Times, Smithsonian, National Geographic, Newsweek, Forbes, New Scientist and The Times of London.

“Trauma patients who lose so much blood that the heart stops very rarely survive, even with blood transfusions and CPR,” Tisherman said. “We have developed EPR using hypothermia to decrease the body’s need for oxygen and blood flow to see if we can buy time to save these patients who are dying in front of us. We are currently looking at the safety and feasibility of the EPR cooling technique. Our main goal is to demonstrate that we can do it and that it works.” 

Tisherman came to UMSOM in 2014 from the University of Pittsburgh, where he was a professor in the departments of critical care medicine and surgery. He received his MD degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 1985 and completed his residency training at the University Health Center of Pittsburgh.

In UMSOM’s Center for Critical Care and Trauma Education, Tisherman is expanding the educational programs within Shock Trauma and the University of Maryland Medical System. This includes the development of novel simulation programs to train multiprofessional teams in the optimal management of the most critically ill and injured patients. With funding from the Department of Defense, he also is studying trauma surgical skill retention and refresher techniques.

“We greatly appreciate the national recognition of this important work, which is revolutionary in many ways” Tisherman said. “It is certainly gratifying to be included on a list of major innovations that are making the world a better place.”