Liver transplant experts gather at the University Of Birmingham to celebrate 30 years of research

Experts from around the world have gathered at the University of Birmingham to celebrate 30 years of research and 5,000 liver transplants to have been performed in the city.

Internationally renowned pioneers of liver transplantation and experts in liver disease were at the two-day International Liver Symposium held at the University’s College of Medical and Dental Sciences on September 5th and 6th.

Birmingham has one of the largest liver transplant programmes in Europe.  This year saw the 5,000th liver transplant being performed across Birmingham Children’s Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, part of Birmingham Health Partners, a strategic alliance between the University of Birmingham, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust.  2017 also marks the 30th anniversary of the Centre for Liver Research at the University of Birmingham.

Professor David Adams, Head of the College of Medical and Dental Sciences at the University of Birmingham and Director of Birmingham Health Partners, said: “In the early 1980’s attempts to launch a pioneering liver transplant programme in Birmingham were met with hostility and disbelief – liver transplants had only been performed in a few centres throughout the world and results were poor with fewer than one in three patients living beyond a year.

“The vision, courage and skill of the early pioneers working as a multi-disciplinary team overcame the challenges and established Birmingham as a world-leading site for liver transplantation.  Move forward 35 years and the Birmingham programme has grown from strength to strength, contributing through innovation and science to the current successful outcomes in liver transplantation.

“Birmingham now has one of the largest liver transplant programmes in Europe performing in excess of 250 adult and paediatric transplants per year.

“We are delighted to celebrate these clinical and academic achievements in a scientific conference at the University of Birmingham.”

Mr Khalid Sharif, Clinical Lead for Liver Services and Hepatology at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, was one of a number of specialists from both hospitals presenting at the Symposium.

He said: “Both ourselves and our colleagues at University Hospitals Birmingham are very proud to have carried out this milestone procedure for the city. It’s a real testament to the skills, dedication and commitment of all of our teams involved. What this does really emphasise is the importance of the organ donor register. Without people signing up these operations would simply not be possible.”