Carrel Club

The Carrel Club is for trainees in transplant surgery in the United Kingdom, and is affiliated with the British Transplantation Society and the Association of Surgeons in Training .

We aim to bring together surgical trainees with an interest in transplantation surgery, and to represent and support such trainees.

The Carrel Club is named after Alexis Carrel, the French surgeon who pioneered arterial anastomosis and developed the basic technique of kidney transplantation.

Membership of the Carrel Club is open to all specialist trainees and clinical or research fellows with a declared interest in transplant surgery in the United Kingdom. From this membership a committee is elected to provide representation of transplant surgery trainees on the BTS Council, BTS Transplant Training and Education Committee, Chapter of Surgeons Committee and the ASiT Council.

About Alexis Carrel

The Carrel Club is named after Alexis Carrel, a French surgeon who first described the end-to-end technique for arterial anastamoses and realised that this offerred the potential for solid organ transplants. Although not the first person to perform experimental kidney transplants in animals, he perfected the surgical technique for the procedure in dogs during the first decade of the twentieth century, placing the kidney retroperitoneally in the iliac fossa as is still done in humans today.

Alexis Carrel trained in medicine at the University of Lyon, and after graduation trained in surgery, spending time in research into vascular suturing under the supervision of Matthieu Jaboulay. Carrel’s classic 1902 paper La technique operatoire des anastomoses vasculaires et la transplantation des visceres described the technique of end-to-end arterial anastomosis using oiled sutures with eversion of the vessel walls, replacing the more cumbersome and less accurate methods described previously. His paper also alluded to the potential for organ transplantationbased on this method of vascular anastomosis.

Carrel moved to the University of Chicago in 1904 and his subsequent research, up to the outbreak of the First World War, was into realising the potential of his surgical technique in transplantation using animal models, starting with heterotopic implantation of canine autografts. By 1912 Carrel had perfected the surgical operation of renal transplantation, although only short term function of up to several days could be observed. Contrasting the usual success of autografts with universal failure of allografts, he has able to conclude that some form of destructive reaction to the foreign material was occurring, but was unable to deduce the mechanism.