Keith Reemtsma, MD
Keith Reemtsma, MD, is credited with being the first to show that nonhuman organs could be transplanted into humans and function for a significant period. He achieved that by giving six humans chimpanzee kidneys in the first chimpanzee-to-human organ transplants in 1963 and 1964. In 1964, he transplanted a kidney from a chimpanzee to a woman who then lived with it for nine months.
In addition to performing cross-species transplants, known as xenotransplantation, Dr. Reemtsma was an expert in all kinds of human transplants. For 23 years, he was chairman of the department of surgery at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, where he helped create a leading heart transplant center.
He was honored with the ISHLT Lifetime Achievement Award on April 21st, 1999, at the ISHLT 19th Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions in San Francisco, CA, USA.