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.

British Transplantation Society Conference 2022 debrief – by Azita Mellati

After a year of virtual meetings and conferences, this year the British Transplantation Society (BTS) congress was again held in person at the ICC Belfast. The conference provided a great opportunity for clinicians and researchers to meet up and share the latest about their research and developments on their projects. Over the 3 days of the conference including 31 sessions, more than 100 talks were presented.

Our team from the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences (NDS) actively participated in the conference with a total 3 presentations and 1 poster. Dr Mohamed Elzawahry and Dr Letizia Lo Faro presented their research work on “Safety and feasibility of oxygenated hypothermic machine perfusion in the preservation of donor organs for pancreas transplantation” and “Normothermic machine perfusion of the liver supports protein translation and mitochondrial function while reducing protein degradation and metabolic imbalance: a proteomics study” in the “Dragon’s Den” and “Medawar medal presentations” sessions, respectively. The poster titled “Evaluation of kidney injury after treatment with CC-4066 during cold storage and assessment during normothermic reperfusion in a porcine ischemia reperfusion injury model” by Ms. Pommelien Meertens (as part of her Research Internship at NDS) was presented during the conference as well. I also had the opportunity to present my own research on “Investigation into the effect of Alpha-1 antitrypsin delivered via different preservation methods on ischemia-reperfusion injury in pig kidneys” as part of the “Science oral presentations” session. I received very interesting feedback on my project and had the great fortune to discuss details and plans with the audience and other attendees.

In addition to the scientific part of the conference, we also had the opportunity to enjoy and come together to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the BTS. Over the course of the Gala Dinner themed “the 70s”, members shared good laughter and created wonderful memories. The conference also provided the opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the lifetime of research work of several members of the BTS, including Professor Peter Friend from within our own department. Overall, this year’s BTS congress was a major success and a great sign that in person, scientific gatherings are back again for the better.