WHO WE ARE
The Mendez National Institute of Transplantation Foundation (MNITF) is a public non-profit organization that adheres to its mission of advancing the science and practice of organ transplantation and end-stage organ disease therapies through research, education, and innovation. Building upon the vision and legacy of Doctors Robert and Rafael Mendez, founders of The Mendez National Institute of Transplantation (MNIT) as well as the MNITF, MNIT and MNITF merged in Spring 2014. MNITF now continues the work of MNIT and performs several functions to succeed in its mission:
Research: The MNIT’s research excellence has been manifest in our awards and strong publication record in scientific literature, which has helped change clinical practices worldwide. MNIT, now part of MNITF, provides a significant presence at national and international meetings, including the International Transplantation Society and the American Transplant Congress, where we have shared our research to advance the practice of transplantation.
MNITF strives to improve the lives of those with end-stage organ disease and those with organ transplants by advancing the science and practice of transplantation and related fields. We are working to achieve this by:
- Creating a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary program of research that advances scientific knowledge that will improve clinical outcomes in transplantation.
- Integrating the field of transplantation with the latest donor screening technologies, immunogenetics, post-transplant monitoring, and advancements in regenerative medicine.
- Making unique contributions to biology and medicine by developing new diagnostic and therapeutic paradigms.
Education: The MNIT’s original commitment to education and outreach has resulted in successful community patient education programs in Southern California that target underserved populations to increase awareness and access to transplantation. MNIT’s award-winning web series, Fixing Paco, which was shot in both English and Spanish, is a groundbreaking 10-episode telenovela-style series created to provide vital information about kidney transplantation and maintenance to Latinos and those with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Prior to Fixing Paco, nothing existed to meet the educational needs of Latinos on dialysis in such an engaging, and entertaining format. Following the curriculum of MNIT’s One-On-One Program, Fixing Paco helps educate patients with kidney failure and their families about the option of kidney transplantation, how to access transplantation, how to be proactive in healthcare, and what they need to know about living donation. MNITF is now expanding its education program to reach patients and their families nationally and internationally.
Innovation: Since its founding, MNIT has contributed to major medical and scientific advances, including the use of young and old donors; transplantation across the ABO barrier; absorbing antigraft antibodies and the development of immunosuppressive protocols, including steroid withdrawal and the introduction of tacrolimus; and work on xenoantibodies and islet encapsulation. Additionally, the innovative application of new technologies in the MNIT Serology and Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory to detect donor-transmitted infections such as hepatitis, HIV, Chagas disease, and West Nile Virus has made a significant and real-world difference to outcomes of care for patients. This technology has taken advanced science unavailable in most U.S. transplant centers and enabled its application within the critically short time of the pre-transplant window, and is a part of MNITF’s continuing mission to develop and bring new clinical and basic developments to the transplant community.