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UCL events news and reviews


Progress in transplantation, organ donation and research

By news editor, on 27 April 2012

On 23 April, a collection of researchers, medical professionals, patients and members of the general public congregated at the Royal Free Hospital for an afternoon of enlightenment and discussion.

The Rt Hon. Adrian Bailey MP opened the conference, revealing that three people die each day in the UK waiting for an organ transplant. This highlighted the importance of the situation, explaining why the shortfall in donor organs needs to be addressed urgently.

Session 1: Pathway of Transplantation, Donation and Research
Professor Brian Davidson (UCL Division of Surgery and Interventional Science) was tasked with providing “a brief history of transplantation, organ donation and research”. He managed to offer a comprehensive overview, focusing on the dramatic improvements in organ transplantation since the 1970s.

Professor Davidson was clear, however, that there are still necessary advancements to be made. He mentioned the disparity between donation rates across Europe – the rate in the UK is half that of Spain.

Possible solutions to bridge the gap were explored, such as surgical innovation (splitting donor organs and live donor transplants), xenotransplantation and tissue engineering.


Stem Cells: the root of cancer?

By Frances-Catherine Quevenco, on 9 June 2011

‘Cancer is indeed a disease of stem cells’, according to Dr Brian Huntly, MRC Senior Clinical Research Fellow at Cambridge University. I, for one, had always associated stem cells with treatments and promising cures. It therefore came as a huge surprise to me when I sat through an hour of PowerPoint slides proposing a possibility that cancer was the result of the abnormal behaviour of stem cells.