Freemasons fund ground-breaking heart transplant research
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During 2014, The Freemasons' Grand Charity and Masonic Samaritan Fund donated £200,000 towards heart transplant research that has recently had astounding results.

Experts from Papworth Hospital have successfully performed a landmark procedure which is set to significantly increase the number of lives saved for people waiting for a heart transplant.

In response to the worldwide shortage of donor hearts for transplantation, a Papworth Hospital team, led by Consultant Surgeon Stephen Large, has identified a new source of donor hearts to save more lives.

The research shows that heart transplants from a new group of potential donors - known as non-beating heart donors - could save hundreds of lives internationally as the heart transplant waiting list continues to grow.

Mr Large said: “Significant research has gone into finding new, safe ways to increase the number of lives we save using heart transplantation. The use of this group of donor hearts could increase heart transplantation by up to 25 per cent in the UK alone.”

Mr Large said “I would like to take the time to sincerely thank the Freemasons as they have been instrumental in helping us translate our research into a clinical programme of DCD heart transplantation which is set to revolutionise transplantation in the UK. Our work has been realised due to the very generous support of The Freemasons' Grand Charity and the Masonic Samaritan Fund. My very sincerest thanks goes to all in United Grand Lodge of England for helping make this possible.”

Earlier this year Huseyin Ulucan, from London, became the first successful recipient of a heart transplant from a non-beating heart donor in Europe using new innovative techniques following an operation at Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire. He is making remarkable progress – spending only four days in the Critical Care Unit and is now recovering well at home.

The procedure, developed at Papworth, involves restoring function to the heart allowing safe assessment of the organ before it is accepted for transplantation. The heart is then placed onto an Organ Care System (OCS) to maintain the quality of the donor heart during transportation to Papworth where it is transplanted.

Mr Large said: “This is a very exciting development. By enabling the safe use of these kind of donor hearts, we could significantly increase the total number of heart transplants each year, saving hundreds of lives.

Professor James Neuberger, Associate Medical Director for organ donation and transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We are immensely grateful to the donor’s family and we hope they are taking great comfort in knowing that their relative’s organs have saved lives and have also made an important contribution to heart transplantation in the UK. We also shouldn’t forget the donor families who helped pave the way for the hospital’s recent landmark transplantation.”