Award win for cross-city dermatology study

A team of dermatologists from hospitals around Birmingham were delighted to be awarded a prestigious trophy for the ‘Best Scientific Session Paper’ at the 98th Annual Meeting of British Association of Dermatologists (BAD), held in Edinburgh earlier this year.

The winning paper, written by clinicians from both of the BHP trusts (University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB) and Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust) as well as colleagues from Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust (SWBH), described a 10-year study of a UK paediatric transplant population to assess for skin cancer.

The paper’s lead authors, Dr Seow Hoong Foo and Dr Michelle Thomson, said: “We have known for many years that organ transplant recipients are at higher risk of developing skin cancer, because medicines given to prevent transplant rejection also lower the body’s resistance to cancer.

“In this study, we examined 45 patients for skin cancer, ten years on from a previous study by Dr Michelle Thomson of 98 children who had undergone organ transplantation.

“The results showed that no skin cancers had developed, but many participants had developed a high number of moles particularly in areas exposed to the sun, indicating an increased risk of melanoma skin cancer.

“Despite previous advice about sun-protection because of the skin cancer risk, 78% still experienced sunburn, particularly those who took holidays abroad, and 22% admitted using sunbeds.

“Though the lack of skin cancer in these is encouraging, the high number of moles indicates that better education is still needed about sun protection, particularly for younger people.”

UHB dermatologists, alongside regional and national colleagues, also came away with two other awards at the BAD meeting, with the Bristol Cup for ‘Best Overall Original Study’ awarded for a paper analysing blood in patients with skin lymphomas, and the Best Registrar’s Paper Trophy presented for a paper challenging current knowledge around mutations in female genital melanoma.

UHB Dermatology consultant, Dr Agustin Martin-Clavijo, added: “As the largest transplant centre in Europe, UHB is able to undertake a wide variety of research.

“Alongside colleagues across Birmingham, it’s fantastic that we have grown in recent years to now win three awards, which highlights the standard and breadth of dermatology research taking place across the region.”