Our joint founder Professor Mo Abu Hilal performed his last operation in Southampton on 30 September - a liver resection - before taking up a new post at the Poliambulanza Hospital in Brescia, Italy. Mo has been instrumental in guiding the charity's research programme and will continue to provide input as an Honorary member. The work of the charity will continue under the professional guidance of Dr. Nadeem Tehami who we will introduce to you shortly. In the meantime we wish Mo every success in his new post and thank him for his support and kindness over many years since the charity's formation in 2012.
Following the extension of funding for this project by LAPRD last year, Mogib Khedr (LAP researcher pictured) has conducted 172 experiments involving human samples and 78 experiments involving cell lines and liver stem cells.
Mogib is has made important strides using a novel method to grow liver and liver stem cells. This unique method means that these cells can now live and function for up to two weeks in the laboratory. The technique allows the generation of mature liver cells (from stem cells) and this will enable researchers to test if the cells are able to tolerate anti-cancer treatment. This research has successfully optimised conditions suitable for stem cells, liver cells and most recently cancer cells. Preliminary results of this interesting practice have been recognised and were presented to the national conference ‘The British Association for the Study of the Liver (BASL) Annual Meeting, York 2018’.
In addition to the research above the team have also been working with the Faculty of Engineering at Southampton University to use ultrasonic waves to create a complex structure of cells. The aim of this is to replicate cells normal conditions in the human body where cells would interact with each other and be in an organised 3D form. This technique allows us to imitate tumours seen in the human body and test anti-cancer drugs more accurately. This has been published and the full article can be found https://doi.org/10.1063/1.5082603.
Exciting future research will look at patients with liver tumours undergoing surgical intervention. The research will study the role of stem cells during liver regeneration.
This current research project is fully funded by LAPRD until 2020.
Following the overwhelming feedback from our Facebook poll in November 2018 that the charity should focus on its research programme associated with improving the life chances of Liver and Pancreatic cancer patients the charity has approved a "ten point plan" to deliver the programme. The plan includes:
1. Better communicate the uniqueness of our charity and projects nationwide - this will focus on our research programme;
2. Leverage Southampton Hospital Charities for media relations and communications of key messages and results - initially this will involve meeting with hospital charity representatives to identify where they can provide support;
3. Improve corporate leaflet – issue new 3 folder flyer;
4. Target large local companies for corporate sponsorship;
5. Establish relationships with organisations that raise awareness - add links to our social media and website;
6. Split the role of patron and chairperson;
7. Nominate event manager for fund raising activities and set-up formal events bank account and email address;
8. Strengthen Committee and expand number of volunteers supporters beyond existing group;
9. Identify person who manages /updates website, issues emails and social media and
10. Implement monthly donor scheme
If you are able to offer any support for any of these roles or objectives then please do get in touch. We will keep you updated on progress with these actions during the year.
A huge thank you to Tina Hiscox who raised £6962 at the last charity lunch, held alongside the Southampton Boat Show at the Grand Café Southampton on 20th September. The event included games of bingo, superb auction prizes as well as a wonderful lunch. Our thanks also go out to the Grand Café Southampton team (www.grand-cafe.co.uk) for their support and Jenny Slowen the Bingo caller and compere for the day.
Tina is already planning the next event which will be Lunch with Elvis on March 28th 2019 - watch this space for details but in the meantime save the date!
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force in the UK on 25 May 2018. The GDPR, which replaces the Data Protection Directive (95/96/EC), aims to strengthen the security and protection of personal data. The LAPR&D, as a fund operating under the auspices of the Southampton Hospital Charity, complies with their policy under the GDPR to ensure that we follow the requirements of the GDPR.
Southampton Hospital Charity is committed to the principles inherent in the GDPR and particularly to the concepts of privacy by design, the right to be forgotten, consent and a risk-based approach. In addition, we aim to ensure:
· transparency with regard to the use of data;
· that any processing is lawful, fair, transparent and necessary for a specific purpose;
· that data is accurate, kept up to date and removed when no longer necessary;
· that data is kept safely and securely.
The charity has adopted an opt in/legitimate interest policy and will review data held on an annual basis.
As a part of University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust the charity policy is in line with that of the Trust.
Fundraising group commitment;
As a fundraising group of Southampton Hospital Charity, we adhere to the principles of the GDPR by:
· being transparent with our supporters with regards to the use of their data;
· by processing your data in a lawful, fair, transparent and necessary way for the specific purpose you have gained their data for;
· that any data that we hold is accurate, kept up to date and removed when no longer necessary;
· that any data we hold is kept safely and securely.
The Charity’s privacy and legitimate interest statements can be found here:
Please contact Suzie Simmons,
Head of fundraising
Southampton Hospital Charity
023 8120 5221
if you have concerns or queries regarding the policy.
LAPR&D are delighted to announce the extension of the Liver Stem Cell project, which will enable the project to continue to the next phase since phase 1 was approved in 2015.
The project will be continued under the supervision of Professors Abu Hilal and Salim Khakoo at the University of Southampton Hospital with LAPR&D continuing as the significant funder.
Professor Hilal explained that during the original project many of the objectives i.e. to grow and maintain functioning liver cells outside of the body and allow for early experimentation of new drugs on functioning livers with much reduced risks to patients have been met. Our researcher, Mogib Khedr, has conducted 127 proper experiments involving human samples
and 69 experiments involving cell lines and liver stem cells and successfully isolated stem cells and succeeded in making liver cells grow in laboratory. This research has been published in The Journal of Cell Proliferation and the full article can be found here https://doi.org/10.1111/cpr.12482. Good progress has also been made to identify a way to grow the cells in three dimensions and an ultrasound device has been validated for hepatic cell line.
In additional Liver stem cells have been grown in a clay gel material and can be encouraged to form mature liver cells.
However, further work is required to validate the model so that drugs can be tested. This will require an in depth characterisation of newly formed cells at the functional and the genetic level.
As an experimental study which has been started from scratch on a very novel topic with very little available data the achievements we had so far have been great and much above the average achievement levels in experimental studies. Funding for the next phase of this research will ensure that we have managed to put secure foundations to this project and produce strong data to enable us to progress to the use of liver stem cells in the clinical practice.
The project team have very clear ideas and believe that in the next 2 years (the term of this project extension) they will be able to capitalise on the work done so far so that further grant support can be attracted.
The approved extension will:
1. Use an ultrasound device to fabricate cancer cell micro-tissue which can be used for anti-cancer drug screening and/or drug toxicity testing.
2. Characterise the liver tissue formed from liver stem cells and validate this model in laboratory animals.
3. Test the applicability of use of ultrasound wave device in culture of liver stem cells and promoting the formation of mature liver tissues from them.
4. Testing the ability of implanted human stem cell (in clay gel) for compensation of liver functions in laboratory animals.
The project extension is funded by £40,450 of LAPR&D funding and will run until June 2020. Progress updates will be provided via the News section of our website.
The RESTORE trial - also referred to as Autogenic Splenic Implantation - is being undertaken by Alma Moekotte – Research Fellow at the University Hospital, Southampton under the supervision of Prof Mohammed Abu Hilal.
This new research is being supported with from LAPR&D, research fees from the Spire Hospital Southampton and a senior investigator grant from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) which was awarded to Professor Primrose, who is a key research member on this project.
The spleen is located at the tail end of the pancreas (see photo). If someone has a tumour in the body or tail of the pancreas, the pancreas, or part of it, will be resected (cut out). Often the spleen will be removed as well because the blood supply to the spleen is situated very close to the pancreas and sometimes goes through the pancreas. In that case it is not always possible to divert the blood vessels that go to the spleen, from the pancreas so they have to be removed with the pancreas. As a result the spleen will not receive any blood and will eventually die. For this reason the spleen must be resected as well. Sometimes it is possible to divert the vessels that support the blood supply and keep the spleen alive.
The spleen plays an important role in clearing bacterial infections. Without a lifelong course of antibiotics & regular vaccinations there is a risk of severe infectious complications. As a result of these consequences, several investigators have tried to re-implant pieces of the resected spleen. The procedure is relatively simple: The resected spleen is cut into pieces, about one third of these pieces are placed back into the abdomen, the body will create new small blood vessels to supply these pieces with blood. As a result the new pieces of spleen will regenerate and become new splenic tissue.
However, the question is - will the splenic function be restored? Or are these new pieces of spleen not functional at all? This research project will try to answer this question.
The research will follow patients who have undergone spleen auto-transplantation. After 6 months participants will be vaccinated with the Salmonella vaccine. Before and 1 month after the vaccination, we will measure the amount of Anti-bodies against salmonella in the blood. This gives us an idea whether the new pieces of spleen are able to make enough antibodies to clear an infection. The Salmonella vaccine is chosen because it mimics the specific encapsulated bacteria that are dangerous in patients without a spleen. Of course the vaccine is harmless to the patient. We hope this research will lead to a new way of restoring the splenic function and therefore patients no longer require daily antibiotics and regular vaccinations.
The project will start shortly. The protocol is written and we are waiting for ethical committee clearance.
Further updates will be provided on our website.
It is with much sadness and regret that we announce the passing of Linda Beadle on the 14 March. Linda had been our charity secretary since it was launched in 2012.
Linda's loss although expected, is a great shock to us all. Linda was a great person. To us she was a friend, a sister and PA (to Prof Mo Abu Hilal, one of our founders, at the Spire Hospital, Southampton, ) and a great partner. Her contribution to the charity work was based on her own choice and altruism. She was always able to understand other patients and feel very near to them in their pain, hopes, thoughts and feelings , hence her active involvement and giving of time and effort.
We will remember Linda all the great things she was and will celebrate her life at our forthcoming Annual curry night (www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/annual-curry-night-tickets-43866494867), which, had Linda still been with us, she would have certainly attended and filled the room with joy.
Linda's funeral will take place on Tuesday 27 March, 11am at St Nicholas Church, North Stoneham, Stoneham Lane, Southampton, SO50 9NW. The service will be followed by a wake at 12.30pm at The Concorde Club, Stoneham Lane, Southampton, SO50 9HQ. Family flowers only with donations, if wished, to Princess Mountbatten Hospice, C/o Jonathan Terry Funeral Directors, 3 College Place, London Road, Southampton, SO15 2FB www.jonathanterry.co.uk.
In late spring 2017, we launched our second major research project that aims to identify biomarkers of metastatic Pancreatic cancer (see diagram below) and investigate drugs targeting Pancreatic Cancer cells. The project is being led by researcher Dr. Pardis Avinrad, who has expertise in the cancer stem cells and biomarkers fields, working under the supervision of Emre Sayan PhD and Lecturer and Associate Professor of cancer biology at Southampton University Hospital.
Pancreatic Cancer continues to be difficult to diagnose at an early stage and treat; there are no biomarkers (early warning tests) of metastatic Pancreatic Cancer and also no drugs that specifically target Pancreatic Cancer cells.
Our research project has 3 main goals:
1 identify biomarkers of metastatic pancreatic cancer,
2 predict what the body’s response is to certain anti pancreatic cancer drugs to slow down, halt or prevent Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT) 
3 use the models to discover drugs that would prevent or slow down the spread of pancreatic cancer.
During this first year of the project we aim to characterize 10 pancreatic cancer cell lines for their ability to resist chemotherapy, metastasize and acquire stem cell features. Once we have identified the key factors playing the most significant role in the spread of Pancreatic Cancer, we will perform Immunohistochemistry (IHC) technique. This is a method for selectively imaging the presence and location of proteins in cells of a tissue section. The IHC will analyse 100 Pancreatic cancer patients and investigate clinico-pathological variables in relation to the expression of EMT-inducers and other parameters such as stem cell features. We are hoping that, as with our findings in other cancers (such as liver and breast), at least 1 EMT inducing transcription factor will correlate with Pancreatic cancer spread and patient survival.
In its first six months the project has already made some progress. The research team has focused on understanding the different biological (differentiation) states of cells and the minimum requirements to ensure meaningful tests. The team have concluded that the research requires cells at each of the three stages of differentiations (from well differentiated / healthy cells to less differentiated cells) with the same genetics i.e. from the same patient.
The next stage (years 2 and 3) of the project is to try and identify new drugs and concentration/dosage levels that can act in the right way on the different stages of the disease to kill metastatic pancreatic cancer cells.
We will keep you updated on progress via the News section of our website. In the meantime if you wish to support this research programme please visit our "donate now" section of the website and thank you for your interest.
 Metastasis is the spread of cancer or other disease from one organ or part of the body to another without being directly connected with it.
 Epithelial Mesenchymal Transition (EMT) is a process whereby healthy cells (epithelial) with highly adhesive properties, acquire cancerous features (mesenchymal).