Global expert Professor Ghulam Mufti is to retire from King's Health Partners

Professor Ghulam Mufti is to retire from his roles as King’s College London’s Head of Department of Haematological Medicine; Non-Executive Director and board roles at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust; his board role for Viapath and his position as Haematology Institute Director (Academic lead) for King’s Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC).

Ghulam MuftiProfessor Ghulam Mufti, a world-renowned driving force for the research, diagnosis and treatment of blood cancers, has announced that he will be retiring from his roles as Head of King’s College London’s Department of Haematological Medicine and the Haematology Institute Director (Academic lead) for King’s Health Partners on the 7th September 2020, to continue his research and clinical practice.

A pioneer who radically changed the way blood cancers were treated at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and across the world, Prof Mufti has dedicated 35 years of his career to his clinical work and research. As the head of haemato-oncology at King’s College Hospital his team in collaboration with the Institute of Liver Studies carried out the first ever combined liver and bone marrow transplant at King’s in 1985. With his leadership, the hospital now has one of the largest bone marrow transplant programmes in the UK and performs over 200 transplants a year.

Working with leukaemia charities including Leukaemia UK and Blood Cancer UK, Prof Mufti tirelessly pressed for enormous expansions to the services and resources of his department, transforming it from one which initially had two in-patient beds to one with 60 and creating four new specialist haematology wards including the Derek Mitchell ward.  

Over time he grew his department – which originally had no research laboratories - to house 180 researchers and a new dedicated research facility for finding game-changing new treatments. As a result, his department went on to become an international and renowned centre for the diagnosis and treatment of blood cancers.

It is a centre of excellence for Leukaemia Lymphoma Research and the only gene and cell-based therapies centre for myeloid leukaemia and allied diseases. It is also a national centre for several haematological disorders such as aplastic anaemia or thalassaemia, and an Exemplar Centre for clotting disorders and sickle cell disease. Under Prof Mufti’s oversight as Pathology Director, the department was the largest pathology hub in the UK and the first to have a single track for pathology.

King’s College London has confirmed that it will begin a worldwide search for Prof Mufti’s successor.

Prof Mufti has devoted much of his time to roles across King’s Health Partner organisations, which he will now be retiring from, including:

  • Head of Department of Haematological Medicine at King’s College London and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (since 1997)
  • Non-Executive Director at King’s College Hospital NHS FT (since 2012)
  • Haematology Institute Director (Academic lead) for King’s Health Partners (since 2015)
  • Professor of Haemato-oncology, King’s College London School of Medicine at Guy’s, King’s & St. Thomas’ Hospitals (since 1995)
  • Clinical Director of Pathology, King’s College Hospital NHS FT (1995-2005)
  • Clinical Director of Haematology (1995-2002)
  • Head of Division of Clinical Laboratory Sciences, GKT School of Medicine
  • Chair of several committees at King’s College Hospital NHS FT including the Pathology Management Board, Haematology Consultants’ Committee and the Haematology Laboratory Senior Staff Committee, and at King’s College London Chair of the BAME Steering Group and the Promotions Committee.

Over the course of Prof Mufti’s distinguished career with King’s and King’s Health Partners he has driven many significant and impactful clinical achievements, changing the lives of many patients across London and beyond. His specialist work in myelodysplastic syndrome, acute myeloid leukaemia and stem cell transplantation has helped to transform the detection and treatment of many cancer cells resulting in improvements in the diagnosis, treatment and life expectancy of people with leukaemia.

Some of his achievements include (a more extensive biography is beneath this notice):

  • being awarded an OBE in 2017 (the Order of the British Empire) for services to haematological medicine;
  • significant research achievements focused on molecular aberrations in MDS/AML and the identification of novel therapies that include gene and cell-based therapies, and publishing over 450 papers (H Index 95) and chapters in scientific journals and textbooks on leukaemia’s and Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS);
  • leading the development of a potential new vaccine for acute myeloid leukaemia – the first of its kind in the world;
  • leading the team at King’s which developed the first immune gene therapy programme for leukaemia to be approved by the Gene Therapy Advisory Committee (GTAC);
  • opening the Leukaemia UK Ambulatory Care Unit at King’s College Hospital which allowed patients to receive stem cell transplants as outpatients for the first time ever;
  • leading the research groups at King’s working on the molecular genetics of MDS/aplastic anaemia/acute myeloid leukaemia, and sitting on the working group that produced national and international guidelines on the treatment and prognosis of MDS; 
  • being a founding member and chair of the UK MDS Forum;
  • being a member of the European Bone Marrow Transplantation Group and a founding member of the Board of the International Myelodysplastic foundation, for which his department at King’s College Hospital is a recognised Centre of Excellence;
  • being awarded the lifetime achievement award from the Turkish Government, awarded by the Turkish Minister of Health, for advising on the setting up of Haemato-oncology services and BMT programmes in Turkey;
  • championing the Mind & Body Team at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, funded by the charity Leukaemia UK, which became the first in the country to offer integrated physical and mental healthcare to people living with blood cancer; and
  • being the founding Institute Director for KHP Haematology, working as part of the Programme Board to take the Institute from concept to reality, to establish a wide ranging clinical academic portfolio of projects to improve care and outcomes, develop education and training of future generations, and securing significant commercial partnership grants to drive forward leading research, including one of the AHSC’s largest commercial partnerships with Celgene.

Following Prof Mufti’s announcement, Professor Sir Robert Lechler the outgoing Senior Vice President (Health) at King’s and Executive Director of King’s Health Partners said:

Prof Mufti’s contribution to blood cancer research and treatments is unparalleled, and his work will have a lasting impact on the lives of so many of our patients across the country. We have been extremely fortunate to have had his expertise and leadership in our Haematology Institute, and his support was instrumental for our Mind and Body team to offer whole body care to those with blood cancer. All of us at King’s Health Partners wish him the very best as he continues his research and clinical practice.

Commenting on Prof Mufti’s news, Professor Richard Trembath the incoming Senior Vice President (Health) at King’s and Executive Director of King’s Health Partners said:

We will all be sorry to see Prof Mufti retire from his many roles, yet his commitment and enthusiasm has impacted on so many staff across the King’s College community together with the broader King’s Health Partnership. We are as a consequence so well placed to build on his legacy and thrive. Prof Mufti’s research across a number of areas of haematology not least in leukaemia and MDS, has advanced the science base but also led to significant advancement in clinical practice, including the development of guidelines that have improved outcomes from disease for patients across the world. I personally wish him much gratitude and wish for his continued success, as Ghulam charts this next and exciting new chapter in his career.

Professor Clive Kay, Chief Executive of King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said:

Prof Mufti has been a part of history for haematology, particularly at King’s College Hospital. He performed our first combined liver and bone marrow transplant in 1985, and since then our department has gone from strength to strength with his incredible expertise and passion. His services to haematological medicine are unrivalled and have helped so many of our patients and staff at King’s. All of our staff join me in wishing him the very best as he continues his research and clinical practice.

Additionally, Sir Hugh Tatylor, Chair of Guy’s and Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and Chair of King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: 

In addition to all his other exceptional achievements, Prof Mufti has made an outstanding contribution to the Board of King’s College Hospital for nearly 8 years. He has been a powerful advocate of King’s role as a centre of academic excellence, a champion of the staff at King’s and in particular of our black and minority ethnic staff across the organisation, and above all as a strong and challenging voice for the patients and communities we are proud to serve. We will very much miss his contribution when he steps down from the Board later this year.

Prof Mufti will now continue to focus on his Celgene programme research, fundraising and his clinical practice.

Prof Mufti’s Biography - current highlights

Key national roles:

  • Chair & Founder Member, UK MDS Forum
  • Trustee of the national Aplastic Anaemia Trust (since 2017)
  • Member of the Strategy Group for Blood Cancer UK (since 2020)
  • Member, Haematological Oncology Clinical Studies Group of the National Cancer Research Institute
  • Member, The Institute of Cancer Research
  • Member, Association of Clinical Cytogeneticists
  • Member British Society of Haematology
  • Member, MRC Adult Working Party on Leukaemia
  • Member, Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists Umbilical Cord Stem Cells Committee
  • Member, MRC Working Group on MDS trials in the UK
  • Member, King’s College London Stem Cell Research Steering Group
  • Member Pan Thames Haemophilia Services Project Board Member, South East London Haemato-Oncology Sub-Group Member, South East Thames Haematologists
  • Member, Medical & Scientific Advisory Panel, Leukaemia Research Fund (2003-2006)
  • Co-ordinator of the MRC MDS trials
  • Member NCRI MDS Clinical Trials Subgroup
  • Deputy Editor, Leukaemia Research 1987 – 1993
  • Academic Peer Review Board member for GenePool online clinical genetics resource for NHS Information Authority
  • Member of UK Department of Trade & Industry delegation to Saudi Arabia with Lord Darzi (2011-)
  • Patron, UK MDS Patient Support Group

Key European roles:

  • Member of the European Group for Blood & Bone Marrow Transplantation MDS Sub-Committee (and its meetings)
  • Member European & International Bone Marrow Transplant Registry
  • Member, European Society of Haematology
  • Member European MDS treatment guidelines group and EU work packages for MDS
  • Member, Commonwealth Scholarship Commission Panel of Advisers
  • Co-ordinator of the EORTC trial on intensive chemotherapy and peripheral blood stem cell transplant in myelodysplastic syndrome: Other co-ordinator Prof T. Dewitte.
  • Member, European Haematology Association 2000 Scientific Committee
  • President and Scientific Advisor for the International Differentiation Therapy Congress, Ankara 1994.
  • Co-organiser and Scientific Committee Member of the European Gene Therapy Congress, King’s College (Strand Campus), 1994
  • Member of the Scientific Committee for Cytokine branch of EORTC. I hosted the annual meeting in 1989 at King’s and organised the annual meeting in November 1995.

Key International roles:

  • Founder member of the MDS International Symposia and Senior Executive board member of the International MDS Foundation
  • Member, American Society of Haematology
  • Member, International Society of Haematology
  • Member, Technical Committee, Cancer Society of Kashmir
  • Adviser, Bone Marrow Transplantation Programme, Dr Soliman Fakeeh Hospital, Jeddah, KSA
  • Scientific Advisor for the Programme of the International Society of Haematology (ISH 1995)
  • Organiser of leukaemia session and lecturer at the UICC Congress in 1990
  • Member of the scientific team to Moscow and Minsk following the Chernobyl disaster.
  • Invited speaker and participant of the State of the Science at NIH, Maryland, Bethesda, USA and other key international symposia for bone marrow failure, chromosomal abnormalities in myeloid leukaemia.
  • Advisory Board chair and member for Celgene, GSK, Novartis, Amgen, amongst other pharmaceutical companies.

Key roles as an Examiner:

  • Membership examinations of the Royal College of Pathologists (Haematology)
  • King Saud University Haematology Fellowship Finals – for which Prof Mufti was given an award
  • Final MB examination in Pathology
  • Examiner for PhD and MD degrees in haematology, universities through UK & Europe

King’s Health Partners Haematology is aiming to bring together our strengths in clinical service, research, and education to deliver exceptional outcomes for haematology patients. Our vision is to develop cures and vaccinations for haematological conditions so that future generations do not have to face lives with these diseases.