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UK transplant experts reach 100th meeting milestone

A unique medical forum which discusses every adult in the UK being considered for an intestinal transplant celebrated its 100th meeting at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge yesterday.

Members of the National Adult Small Intestinal Transplant Programme (NASIT) met face to face on 16 June, rather than virtually, for the first time since the pandemic began.

NASIT members - group shot
Members of the National Adult Small Intestinal Transplant Programme (NASIT) meeting at Addenbrooke's.

Since its foundation NASIT has brought together some of the country’s leading specialists to discuss in detail these very complex cases and the life-saving surgery patients so urgently need. The fact we held our 100th meeting, and that was finally in person at the clinical school, are milestone moments.

Dr Lisa Sharkey

There were talks from founding members, reflections on how the meeting has changed many patients’ lives, and a focus on the future of NASIT and intestinal transplant.

The multi-disciplinary team was co-founded in 2005 by Addenbrooke’s consultant gastroenterologist, Dr Stephen Middleton, and Dr Simon Gabe from St Mark’s Hospital in London, which specialises in bowel treatment.

It draws experts from around the country to discuss very complex patients and is ultimately used by the Department of Health to approve and list patients for transplantation.

Other core members are from hospitals including Salford Royal in Manchester and Oxford University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. In the past the forum has also been attended by transplant teams from Ireland, Belgium, Madrid, Singapore, Australia and Sri Lanka, as well as UK paediatric transplant specialists.

Addenbrooke’s was the first centre in the UK and one of the first internationally to undertake transplantation of the small intestine.

The first transplant was in 1991 and the service has gradually grown since, now undertaking about fifteen procedures a year.

It is one of two centres in the UK to offer such a service and the only centre to conduct full multi-visceral operations where, in addition to the small intestine, several other organs are transplanted including the liver.

Dr Lisa Sharkey, a consultant gastroenterologist and transplant physician and medical lead for Cambridge Intestinal and Multivisceral Transplant Service said:

While these are incredible achievements for us, they are nowhere near as incredible as those generous people who donate their organs so that others may be saved.

Dr Lisa Sharkey

The law on organ donation has changed.

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