In memorium: Prof Sir Roy Calne


Prof Sir Roy Calne, who carried out Europe’s first liver transplant, died aged 93 in Cambridge late on Saturday evening. He performed the game changing operation on 2nd May 1968 at Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge, and was responsible for other surgical ‘world firsts’.

In 1978, he became the first doctor to use an immunosuppressant, which was found to be effective in reducing organ rejection.

His work on liver transplants offered thousands of people with end-stage liver disease a normal life, the Royal Society said.

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS foundation trust said Sir Roy was professor of surgery between 1965 and 1998, performing Cambridge’s first kidney transplant in 1965 and Europe’s first liver transplant three years later. Addenbrooke’s hospital named its specialist transplant unit after the medic, honouring his “world firsts”, and a plaque was placed at the entrance.

At the time, Prof Chris Watson credited the surgeon with putting “Cambridge on the map as an international centre for excellence”.

In 2021, it was the only transplant centre to perform all abdominal organ transplants, with more than 350 conducted each year, Watson added.

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