Thursday, 30 October 2014

Today in History October 30 : Sir Michael Woodruff, surgeon and organ transplant pioneer.

October 30 is the 303rd day of the year. There are 62 days remaining until the end of the year.
Sir michael woodruff.jpg
Sir Michael Woodruff

Today's Highlight in History  1960 – Michael Woodruff performs the first successful kidney transplant in the United Kingdom at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

Sir Michael Francis Addison Woodruff, FRS, FRCS (3 April 1911 – 10 March 2001) was an English surgeon and scientist principally remembered for his research into organ transplantation. Though born in London, Woodruff spent his youth in Australia, where he earned degrees in electrical engineering and medicine. Having completed his studies shortly after the outbreak of World War II, he joined the Australian Army Medical Corps, but was soon captured by Japanese forces and imprisoned in the Changi Prison Camp. While there, he devised an ingenious method of extracting nutrients from agricultural wastes to prevent malnutrition among his fellow POWs.

At the conclusion of the war, Woodruff returned to England and began a long career as an academic surgeon, mixing clinical work and research. Woodruff principally studied transplant rejection and immunosuppression. His work in these areas of transplantation biology, led Woodruff to perform the first kidney transplant in the United Kingdom, on 30 October 1960. For this and his other scientific contributions, Woodruff was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1968 and made a Knight Bachelor in 1969. Although retiring from surgical work in 1976, he remained an active figure in the scientific community, researching cancer and serving on the boards of various medical and scientific organizations.

His most important clinical accomplishments were in kidney transplantation. he performed the first ever kidney transplant in the UK, at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Woodruff had been waiting for the right patient for some time, hoping to find a patient with an identical twin to act as the donor, as this would significantly reduce the risk of rejection. The patient that Woodruff eventually found was a 49-year-old man suffering from severely impaired kidney function who received one of his identical twin brother's kidneys on 30 October 1960. Both twins lived an additional six years before dying of an unrelated disease. Woodruff thought that he had to be vigilant with his first kidney transplant, as he regarded the British medical community's attitude to be conservative towards transplantation. From then until his retirement in 1976, he performed 127 kidney transplants. Also in 1960, Woodruff published The Transplantation of Tissues and Organs, a comprehensive survey of transplant biology and one of seven books he wrote. He was awarded the 1969 Lister Medal for his contributions to surgical science. The corresponding Lister Oration, given at the Royal College of Surgeons of England, was delivered on 8 April 1970, and was titled 'Biological aspects of individuality'.

Woodruff retired from the University of Edinburgh in 1976 and joined the MRC Clinical and Population Cytogenetics Unit. He spent the next ten years there, engaged in cancer research with an emphasis on tumor immunology using Corynebacterium parva. During that time, Woodruff also published twenty-five papers and two books. After retiring from his cancer research, Woodruff lived quietly with his wife in Edinburgh, traveling occasionally, until his death there on 10 March 2001 at the age of 89.

World Events

1817 – The independent government of Venezuela is established by Simón Bolívar.
1831 – In Southampton County, Virginia, escaped slave Nat Turner is captured and arrested for leading the bloodiest slave rebellion in United States history.
1864 – Helena, Montana is founded after four prospectors discover gold at "Last Chance Gulch".
1894 – Domenico Melegatti obtains a patent for a procedure to be applied in producing pandoro industrially.
1905 – Czar Nicholas II of Russia grants Russia's first constitution, creating a legislative assembly.
1918 – The Ottoman Empire signs an armistice with the Allies, ending the First World War in the Middle East.
1920 – The Communist Party of Australia is founded in Sydney.
1922 – Benito Mussolini is made Prime Minister of Italy.
1925 – John Logie Baird creates Britain's first television transmitter
1950 – Pope Pius XII witnesses the "Miracle of the Sun" while at the Vatican.
1960 – Michael Woodruff performs the first successful kidney transplant in the United Kingdom at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.
1961 – Nuclear testing: The Soviet Union detonates the hydrogen bomb Tsar Bomba over Novaya Zemlya; at 50 megatons of yield, it is still the largest explosive device ever detonated, nuclear or otherwise.
1961 – Because of "violations of Lenin's precepts", it is decreed that Joseph Stalin's body be removed from its place of honour inside Lenin's tomb and buried near the Kremlin Wall with a plain granite marker instead.
1965 – English model Jean Shrimpton causes a global sensation by wearing a daring white minidress to Derby Day at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Australia.
1965 – Vietnam War: Close to Da Nang, United States Marines repel an intense attack by Viet Cong forces, killing 56 guerrillas.
1970 – In Vietnam, the worst monsoon to hit the area in six years causes severe floods, kills 293, leaves 200,000 homeless and virtually halts the Vietnam War.
1972 – A collision between two commuter trains in Chicago kills 45 and injures 332.
1973 – The Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey is completed, connecting the continents of Europe and Asia over the Bosphorus for the second time.
1974 – The Rumble in the Jungle boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman takes place in Kinshasa, Zaire.
1975 – Prince Juan Carlos becomes Spain's acting head of state, taking over for the country's ailing dictator, Gen. Francisco Franco.
1980 – El Salvador and Honduras sign a peace treaty to put the border dispute fought over in 1969's Football War before the International Court of Justice.
1983 – The first democratic elections in Argentina after seven years of military rule are held.
1985 – Space Shuttle Challenger lifts off for mission STS-61-A, its final successful mission.
1987 – In Japan, NEC releases the first 16-bit (fourth generation) video game console, the PC Engine, which is later sold in other markets under the name TurboGrafx-16.
1991 – The Madrid Conference for Middle East peace talks opens.
1993 – The Troubles: The Ulster Defence Association, an Ulster loyalist paramilitary, carry out a mass shooting at a Halloween party in Greysteel, Northern Ireland. Eight civilians are murdered and thirteen wounded.
1995 – Quebec citizens narrowly vote (50.58% to 49.42%) to remain a province of Canada in their second referendum on national sovereignty.
2005 – The rebuilt Dresden Frauenkirche (destroyed in the firebombing of Dresden during World War II) is reconsecrated after a thirteen-year rebuilding project.

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