The vision and sensitivity of one doctor inspired a project that has helped thousands of transplant recipients become parents and bring healthy children into the world.
Dr. Vincent Armenti was struck by the lack of available data to help a kidney recipient make an informed decision when she asked him asked about the possibility of having a pregnancy after her transplant. At the time in 1990, Dr. Armenti was a transplant surgeon at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, Pa. Determined to resolve this dilemma, Dr. Armenti had the brilliant idea to pool together any available data from all the transplant centers in North America, as it was clear that no one transplant center had enough information about pregnancy to provide good answers. This method of data collection would enhance the volume of data, giving transplant recipients and their healthcare providers the critical information they needed. So, in 1991, the National Transplantation Pregnancy Registry (NTPR) was born. Fast forward this to 30 years later, and the Registry has now expanded worldwide with thousands of registrants.
Dr. Armenti had also earned a PhD in Developmental Anatomy and, as such, was especially interested in how the medications that the mother had to take to maintain her transplant might affect her baby. This was a perfect fit in combing his two interests – transplantation and developmental anatomy. The NTPR was able to quickly enroll recipients who had experienced a post-transplant pregnancy, and Dr. Armenti published several professional journal articles about pregnancy outcomes in transplant recipients. Dr. Armenti presented NTPR data all over the world, even before the Registry expanded to include registrants outside of North America.
The NTPR was originally supported by grants from Sandoz Pharmaceuticals (now Novartis Pharmaceuticals). Over the years, the NTPR has been supported by all major companies that manufacture transplant medications. These included Fujisawa (now Astellas), Wyeth-Ayers Pharmaceuticals (now Pfizer), Roche Pharmaceuticals (now Genentech), and Bristol Myers-Squibb. The Registry has currently received an educational grant form Veloxis Pharmaceuticals. However, most immunosuppression is now available in generic formulation and their post-marketing surveillance is no longer needed. Therefore, this type of funding has now stopped. The TPRI continues to thrive through the generous support of Gift of Life Donor Program’s Transplant Foundation.
We now honor Vincent T. Armenti, MD, PhD (1952-2014) by continuing his vision. Dr. Armenti’s guidance and leadership allowed the NTPR to flourish and provide countless transplant recipients with scientific information on which to base their family planning decisions. He was a gifted transplant surgeon, medical researcher, educator, and musician.
We are also deeply saddened by the loss of our dear colleague and friend, Dawn P. Armenti (1956-2018), who was the wife of Dr. Armenti. She was a devoted wife, mother, and friend. Dawn was an integral member of the TPRI team, and she served as the data coordinator beginning in 1995. Her unassuming leadership and guidance were invaluable to the TPRI. Dr. and Mrs. Armenti are truly missed by all who knew them.