Dual console da Vinci Si Robot first for UK

Posted: 22 February 2011

Professor Prokar Dasgupta – the Centre’s Chair in Robotic Surgery and Urological Innovation – is delighted to announce Guy’s Hospital’s new state of the art da Vinci Si Robot. Guy’s is the first and only institution in the UK with two functioning robots. The third generation robot, worth £1.7 million, has dual consoles to enable training in a safe environment, without harming the patient. Having dual consoles means learning how to use the robot no longer needs to be done remotely, from a second robot in a separate location. Commenting on learning to use the new robot, Professor Dasgupta said “it is like learning how to drive a car or fly an aeroplane”.

The new da Vinci Si robot featured on the BBC Radio 5 Gaby Logan show on the 15th Feb where a robotic assisted radical prostatectomy was demonstrated by Professor Dasgupta, who was also interviewed. The segment looked at how hospital surgeons are now receiving help from robots to carry out complex operations which were previously unthinkable.

Centre Renewals

Posted: 23 February 2011

Both the MRC Centre for Transplantation and the NIHR comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) are about to embark on the renewal process to extend their funding for a further five years. Earlier this month, the MRC Centre carried out a midterm review. The Centre’s External Advisory Board, Chaired by Sir Peter Morris, heard about research progress from Principal Investigators and Clinicians across the Centre. The meeting was very useful in advising the strategy of the renewal which is now in development. Our deadline for submission is the end of June, so please do cooperate with the Centre team in pulling this vital piece of work together.

Alongside this, the BRC renewal process is about to kick off and we strongly encourage colleagues to attend the Biomedical Forum on Wednesday 2nd March which will be an open discussion of the renewal plans. Details are here.

Publishing bonanza – Dr Wong and Dr Brown clean up

Posted: 26 January 2011

Congratulations to Dr Wilson Wong and Dr Kathryn Brown and colleagues who have started off this year with an exceptional three publications in January alone – two in the American Journal of Transplantation and another in the European Journal of Immunology.

1. Brown K, Sacks SH, Wong W. Tertiary lymphoid organs in renal allografts can be associated with donor specific tolerance rather than rejection. European Journal of Immunology 2011, 41(1), 89–96.

Tertiary lymphoid organs are traditionally found in sites of chronic inflammation where tissue damage occurs. Here, we found that they are also found in tolerant kidney grafts and are associated with a protective effect for the transplanted organ.

2. Brown K, Badar A, Sunassee K, Fernandes M A, Shariff H, Jurcevic S, Blower PJ, Sacks SH, Mullen GED, Wong W. SPECT/CT lymphoscintigraphy of heterotopic cardiac grafts reveals novel sites of lymphatic drainage and T cell priming. American Journal of Transplantation 2011, In press. Early view available online

Mediastinal lymph nodes are identified as the draining lymph nodes of heterotopic cardiac allografts, they are important sites of allosensitisation and should be used for ex vivo and adoptive transfer studies in addition to the spleen.

3. Brown K, Sacks SH, Wong W. Co-expression of donor peptide/recipient MHC complex and intact donor MHC: evidence for a link between the direct and indirect pathways. American Journal of Transplantation 2011, In press. Early view available online:

We found that donor passenger leukocytes exchange MHC molecules with the recipient, resulting in antigen presenting cells expressing both donor and recipient MHC; this includes recipient MHC molecules presenting donor derived allopeptides, thus providing a link between the direct and indirect antigen presentation pathways.

£2.1 million awarded for investigation into the efficacy of Mirococept in renal transplantation

Posted: 26 January 2011

Congratulations to Centre Director Professor Steven Sacks, Mr Martin Drage and Dr Richard Smith on being awarded a £2.1 million grant from the MRC. The award will fund a three year Development Clinical Studies investigation into the efficacy of Mirococept in renal transplantation.

This is the first major clinical investigation into the usefulness of therapeutic regulation of the complement system in human renal transplantation using the cytotopic (“organ painting”) approach.

The role of complement in transplantation has been under study at King’s College London for well over a decade. That, together with a previous pilot study, suggested that Mirococept might be able to reduce acute injury to the kidney after transplantation. This would enable a more rapid return of normal kidney function and possibly improve the overall lifetime of the graft.

British Science Festival – Centre event a sell out

Posted: 16 September 2010

After several months of preparation and rehearsal the MRC Centre team finally took to the stage at the British Science Festival in Birmingham on Wednesday. ‘Extending the life of the Transplant’ was chaired by Vivienne Parry and featured a discussion with author Sue Townsend who kindly produced an Adrian Mole short story for the event (link).

Scientific presentations from Prof Giovanna Lombardi and Dr Richard Smith were assisted with some amazing animations developed with media partners of the Centre. The meeting concluded with an ethical debate where members of the audience, mostly comprised of children from local Birmingham schools, were challenged to think about the difficult decisions involved in allocating organs to recipients.

The event was very popular with just about every seat in the house taken for the two hour meeting. Press interest in the event has been high with the Centre featuring on BBC Breakfast where transplant surgeon Martin Drage took to the sofa with Bill Turnball. Articles have also appeared in the Evening Standard and Guardian as well as a feature in the Times.

It is hoped that a similar event will take place in London soon – keep your eyes on the newsletter for details!

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