Cambridge University Reporter

Report of the General Board on the re-establishment of the Professorship of Transfusion Medicine

The GENERAL BOARD beg leave to report to the University as follows:

1. The School of Clinical Medicine pursues its mission of medical education and research in close collaboration with its NHS partners, and identifies research themes which will link key areas of biomedical science with relevant clinical problems of importance to the health service. One such area is Transfusion Medicine, where the School benefits from the presence on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus of a major research facility of NHS Blood and Transplantation (NHSBT, formerly the National Blood Service), the NHS agency with clinical responsibility in this area.

2. Many human diseases are potentially amenable to cellular therapies or transplantation procedures. Future clinical advances will require an improved understanding of a wide range of issues, including the generation of appropriate cell types or tissues and the associated immunological challenges. Haematological cells are already widely used as a treatment for patients with haematological malignancies.

3. Recent advances in stem cell biology have laid the foundation for new approaches to the generation of a wide range of cell types which could potentially be used for cellular therapies. In addition a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms regulating stem cell behaviour will lead to the development of small molecules that can influence the differentiation of endogenous stem cells. Within the School of Clinical Medicine and the School of the Biological Sciences, there is considerable existing strength in Stem Cell Biology, including the Welcome Trust Centre for Stem Cell Research, the MRC Centre for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, and the CRUK Cambridge Research Institute. Stem Cell Biology has been identified as a major strategic theme by both Schools. Developments in Transfusion Medicine would synergize with these strengths.

4. Transfusion Medicine therefore represents an established clinical and academic subspeciality within which future cellular therapies, including stem cell therapies, can be developed. Accordingly, the Faculty Board of Clinical Medicine have agreed to propose the re-establishment for one tenure of the Professorship of Transfusion Medicine that will lapse upon the retirement of Professor J. P. Allain on 30 September 2009. NHSBT have agreed to meet the full costs of the Professorship for a single tenure and agreed to award an Honorary Consultant contract should the successful candidate be clinically qualified. If necessary, the Faculty Board have agreed to underwrite the costs from resources available within the School of Clinical Medicine.

5. The General Board have accepted the case made by the Faculty Board; they have agreed to propose the establishment of the Professorship for a single tenure from 1 October 2009. The Board are assured that the proposed Professorship will attract a strong field of well-qualified candidates; they have agreed to concur in the view of the Faculty Board that an election to the Professorship should be made by an ad hoc Board of Electors and that candidature should be open to all persons whose work falls within the general field of the title of the Professorship. The Faculty Board will provide support and facilities for the work of the Professor from within existing resources.

6. The General Board recommend:

That a Professorship of Transfusion Medicine be established in the University, for one tenure from 1 October 2009, placed in Schedule B of the Statutes, and assigned to the Department of Haematology.