KCHC Impact Report 2019-20-WEB - Flipbook - Page 6
Advancing innovation and excellence
Revolutionary liver research
A liver transplant saved the life of King’s patient
Ralph Smith in 2017. Now he is showing his
gratitude to King’s by funding revolutionary
research that has the potential to save
countless lives all over the world.
Ralph’s generous donation will support Marwa Elgosbi,
a PhD student involved in a pioneering three-year
project which could help to make transplanted livers
last longer, as well as make many more livers suitable
After being diagnosed with non alcoholic fatty liver
disease, Ralph had been a patient at King’s for more
than 10 years when doctors made him aware that his
condition could lead to the development of liver cancer.
When this prognosis was confirmed in 2016, a
transplant became the only long-term solution.
“I’d been told to expect a wait of up to two to three
years but, fortunately, I was transplanted in March
2017,” says Ralph.
Under the supervision of Ralph’s transplant surgeon
Dr Miriam Cortes-Cerisuelo, Marwa will test the impact
of introducing mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to
liver tissue during machine perfusion – a method of
preserving and reviving the
liver by passing oxygenated
fluid and nutrients through the
organ before transplantation.
This research is vital: there is a worldwide
shortage of organs available for transplant,
and often, those that are available are damaged
when the blood supply returns to the tissue. Machine
perfusion can reduce the severity of this type of injury,
and the introduction of mesenchymal stem cells
could help decrease inflammation in injured livers
and stop the patient’s immune system from attacking
the transplanted organ, thus reducing the risk of liver
failure or rejection.
My eldest brother died in his fifties almost thirty years ago.
Like several of our family members, he was diabetic, which
had taken its toll on both his liver and his kidneys – a liver
transplant was not an option at the time. The potential for
me to become the second victim in our family makes my
successful transplant all the more amazing.”
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