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1.  Effect of delayed CNI-based immunosuppression with Advagraf® on liver function after MELD-based liver transplantation [IMUTECT] 
BMC Surgery  2014;14:64.
MELD-based allocation for liver transplantation follows the “sickest-patient-first” strategy. The latter patients present with both, decreased immune competence and poor kidney function which is further impaired by immunosuppressants.
In this prospective observational study, 50 patients with de novo low-dose standard Advagraf®-based immunosuppression consisting of Advagraf®, Mycophenolat-mofetil and Corticosteroids after liver transplantation will be evaluated. Advagraf® trough levels of 7-10 μg/l will be reached at the end of the first postoperative week. Immunostatus, infectious complications, graft and kidney function are compared between patients with a pretransplant calculated MELD-score of ≤20 and >20. Each group comprises of 25 consecutive patients. Prior to liver transplantation and on the postoperative days 1, 3 and 7, the patients’ graft function (LiMAx test) will be evaluated. On the postoperative days 3, 5 and 7 the patients’ immune status will be evaluated by the measurement of their monocytic HLA-DR status.
Infectious complications (CMV-reactivation, wound infection, urinary tract infection, and pneumonia), graft- and kidney function will be analysed on day 0, within the first week, and 1, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months after liver transplantation.
This study was designed to assess the effect of a standard low-dose Calcineurin inhibitor-based immunosuppression regime with Advagraf® on the rate of infectious complications, graft and renal function after liver transplantation.
Trial registration
The trial is registered at “Clinical Trials” (, NCT01781195.
PMCID: PMC4160448  PMID: 25178675
Advagraf®; Prospective observational study; MELD-score; Liver function; LiMAx test; Infection rate; HLA-DR status; Immunostatus
2.  Clamp-Crushing versus stapler hepatectomy for transection of the parenchyma in elective hepatic resection (CRUNSH) - A randomized controlled trial (NCT01049607) 
BMC Surgery  2011;11:22.
Hepatic resection is still associated with significant morbidity. Although the period of parenchymal transection presents a crucial step during the operation, uncertainty persists regarding the optimal technique of transection. It was the aim of the present randomized controlled trial to evaluate the efficacy and safety of hepatic resection using the technique of stapler hepatectomy compared to the simple clamp-crushing technique.
The CRUNSH Trial is a prospective randomized controlled single-center trial with a two-group parallel design. Patients scheduled for elective hepatic resection without extrahepatic resection at the Department of General-, Visceral- and Transplantation Surgery, University of Heidelberg are enrolled into the trial and randomized intraoperatively to hepatic resection by the clamp-crushing technique and stapler hepatectomy, respectively. The primary endpoint is total intraoperative blood loss. A set of general and surgical variables are documented as secondary endpoints. Patients and outcome-assessors are blinded for the treatment intervention.
The CRUNSH Trial is the first randomized controlled trial to evaluate efficacy and safety of stapler hepatectomy compared to the clamp-crushing technique for parenchymal transection during elective hepatic resection.
Trial Registration NCT01049607
PMCID: PMC3177759  PMID: 21888669
3.  PORTAL: Pilot study on the safety and tolerance of preoperative melatonin application in patients undergoing major liver resection: a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial 
BMC Surgery  2008;8:2.
Major surgical procedures facilitate systemic endotoxinemia and formation of free radicals with subsequent inflammatory changes that can influence the postoperative course. Experimental data suggest that preoperative supraphysiological doses of melatonin, a potent immuno-modulator and antioxidant, would decrease postoperative infectious and non-infectious complications induced by major abdominal surgery.
A randomized controlled double blind single center clinical trial with two study arms comprising a total of 40 patients has been designed to assess the effects of a single preoperative dose of melatonin before major liver resection. Primary endpoints include the determination of safety and tolerance of the regimen as well as clinical parameters reflecting pathophysiological functions of the liver. Furthermore, data on clinical outcome (infectious and non-infectious complications) will be collected as secondary endpoints to allow a power calculation for a randomized clinical trial aiming at clinical efficacy.
Based on experimental data, this ongoing clinical trial represents an advanced element of the research chain from bench to bedside in order to reach the highest level of evidence-based clinical facts to determine if melatonin can improve the general outcome after liver resection.
Trial Registration
PMCID: PMC2248566  PMID: 18215253
4.  HEGPOL: Randomized, placebo controlled, multicenter, double-blind clinical trial to investigate hepatoprotective effects of glycine in the postoperative phase of liver transplantation [ISRCTN69350312] 
BMC Surgery  2005;5:18.
Kupffer cell-dependent ischemia / reperfusion (I/R) injury after liver transplantation is still of high clinical relevance, as it is strongly associated with primary dysfunction and primary nonfunction of the graft. Glycine, a non-toxic, non-essential amino acid has been conclusively shown in various experiments to prevent both activation of Kupffer cells and reperfusion injury. Based on both experimental and preliminary clinical data this study protocol was designed to further evaluate the early effect of glycine after liver transplantation.
Methods / design
A prospective double-blinded randomized placebo-controlled multicenter study with two parallel groups in a total of 130 liver transplant recipients was designed to assess the effect of multiple intravenous doses of glycine after transplantation. Primary endpoints in hierarchical order are: peak levels of both aspartat-amino-transaminase (AST) and alanine-amino-transaminase (ALT) as surrogates for the progression of liver related injury, as well as both graft and patient survival up to 2 years after transplantation. Furthermore, the effect of glycine on cyclosporine A-induced nephrotoxicity is evaluated.
The ongoing clinical trial represents an advanced element of the research chain, along which a scientific hypothesis has to go by, in order to reach the highest level of evidence; a randomized, prospective, controlled double-blinded clinical trial. If the data of this ongoing research project confirm prior findings, glycine would improve the general outcome after liver transplantation.
PMCID: PMC1208918  PMID: 16105183

Results 1-4 (4)