QUOD’s British Transplantation Society (BTS) 2024 Overview

QUOD attended the BTS Congress in Harrogate from 6-8 March. The annual congress brought together over 500 attendees and from our exhibition stand we were able to meet and connect with researchers, nurses, surgeons and clinicians, as well as charity and industry representatives and NHSBT staff in a wide variety of roles. Having the opportunity to talk to so many people involved in the QUOD programme from across the UK, as well as researchers who have previously or are currently using QUOD samples was so valuable. We were also able to raise awareness of the bioresource and highlight its value to potential future users.

QUOD had a large presence throughout the congress. In the ‘Diversity in Transplantation’ session, QUOD Steering Committee members Colin Wilson and Isabel Quiroga debated for and against ‘Women in Transplant: There are barriers to progressing in transplant surgery’. In the same session Menna Clatworthy, whose group at the University of Cambridge have received QUOD samples for a few research projects, participated in the panel discussion on ‘Socioeconomic, gender and ethnic diversity’. In the Basic Science session on ‘Combating aging’, QUOD National Operational Coordinator Sarah Cross presented an update on QUOD activity and highlighted some exciting work from several QUOD supported research projects in the area of organ aging.

Research using QUOD samples was presented in a number of presentations during the congress. In the prestigious Medawar Medal session, Stephanie Chong from UCL presented her work ‘Composition of the neutralising antibody response predicts risk of BK virus viraemia in renal transplant recipients’. QUOD has supplied Stephanie with donor serum and spleen samples to help facilitate this project and it was terrific to see the results being showcased in this notable session. Two biomarker studies in kidney transplantation which used QUOD donor plasma samples were presented by researchers from the University of Oxford. In the ‘Clinical Oral presentations’ session Ioannis Michelakis talked about his study ‘Donor Cystatin-C association with post-transplant graft function’. In the ‘Basic and Translational Science Oral presentations’ session Sarah Fawaz presented her work ‘Circulating TNFα, TNFR1 and TNFR2 Levels in deceased donors negatively associate with posttransplant kidney function’. In the ‘Calne Williams Medal presentations’ session, the latest developments from the OrQA project, of which QUOD is a collaborative partner, were presented by Georgious Kourounis from Newcastle University ‘Organ Quality Assessment for Livers (OrQA-L): Real-time visual assessment of steatosis during retrieval using machine learning models’.

As is BTS tradition, the gala dinner for this year’s congress had a theme, and due to it falling on World Book Day, delegates arrived dressed up as fictional characters ranging from Moby Dick, Gandalf and the Hobbit and Red Riding Hood, to a swarm of Where’s Wallys! It was a hugely enjoyable evening that ended with us dancing the night away on a packed dance floor to a particularly good live band.

We would like to thank BTS for its continued support and look forward to the 2025 congress where we can showcase more of our scientific collaborations and impact.