Anthony Nolan: Pioneering Highgate professor Alejandro Madrigal receives highest honour from blood cancer research group

Professor Alejandro Madrigal. Picture: Anthony Nolan

Professor Alejandro Madrigal. Picture: Anthony Nolan - Credit: Archant

Professor Alejandro Madrigal will soon retire after 27 years in charge of the Anthony Nolan Research Institute.

There, the Mexico-born professor has led research “dedicated to improving the outcomes” of stem cell and bone marrow transplants for those with life-threatening blood cancers.

Throughout, Prof Madrigal has lived in Highgate.

He has now been given a lifetime achievement award from the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT) in recognition of decades at coalface of transplant research.

He told this newspaper: “In my role as director I have been naturally trying to improve ways to provide transplants. What we are trying to do is create new methods of screening to reduce transplants being rejected.”

Prof Madrigal said over the years he had seen huge advancements in the fight to make sure stem cell and bone marrow transplants are successful.

He said one of the key improvements driven by research at Anthony Nolan had been the way in which doctors are now able to sequence the DNA of a potential donor at ever-more accurate levels.

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He added: “Unfortunately cancer is still a disease that kills many patients.”

The medic reiterated the Anthony Nolan plea for people to sign up to the bone marrow donation register, particularly young men.

Prof Madrigal added: “I am very honoured indeed to receive this award and feel I am also receiving this on behalf of Anthony Nolan.”

Anthony Nolan’s chief exec Henny Braund also paid tribute to Prof Madrigal. He said: “A big reason why Anthony Nolan is able to play such a vital role in research has been the work of Professor Madrigal.

“This distinction has been granted in the past to only a small number of highly regarded individuals and we are incredibly proud that his contributions have been recognised in this way.”