The SRMRC hosted a leading American surgeon and some of the UK’s top transplant surgeons and researchers to discuss face, hand and abdominal wall transplants.
Professor WP Andrew Lee, who led the team which carried out the USA’s first double hand transplant, headlined the Composite Tissue Allotransplantation (CTA) Symposium, which was hosted by the NIHR Surgical Reconstruction and Microbiology Research Centre (SRMRC) on October 11.
CTA is the transfer of composite tissue which could include skin, muscle, bone and nerve. As well as the face and hands, CTA is used for transplants of the lower limbs and structures such as the wall of the abdomen.
Prof Lee spoke about his experiences setting up and managing the hand transplant programme at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and he praised the work done by British researchers and surgeons across the whole field of CTA.
Among the British speakers were Prof Peter Butler, who leads the London Facial Transplant Programme, and Prof Simon Kay, leader of the Leeds Hand Transplant Programme. Britain has not yet carried out either a hand or face transplant but both the London and Leeds programmes are looking for suitable donors and recipients.
Also attending was Prof Peter Friend, who leads the Oxford Abdominal Wall Transplant Programme. He and colleagues Mr Henk Giele and Mr Anil Vaidya discussed the several operations they have carried out.
Other contributors looked at the state of research into the control of the immune processes which play a major role in ensuring these transplants are successful.
The event was organised by Maj Shehan Hettiaratchy and Surg Capt Mark Midwinter.