Francis L. Delmonico

Medawar Prize Laureate (2020)

Introduction of Jean-Paul Soulillou, MD, Recipient of the 2016 Medawar Prize


It is indeed a pleasure for me to introduce Jean-Paul Soulillou as the Medawar Prize Winner for 2016. I have known Jean-Paul for many years and indeed in the past served on his Advisory Board for the Nantes Transplant Institute. As we had many overlapping interests in research, especially in tolerance induction, we have always kept a close eye on each other's work. He was also a visiting professor some years ago in my department at the University of Oxford, and so I feel well qualified to introduce him as this year's Medawar Prize winner.

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Jean-Paul was born in Bordeaux in 1944and went to medical school in Bordeaux, and Nantes, graduating in 1968. He was a resident at the Nantes University Hospital and then spent a very interesting year in a “foreign organisation in healthcare” (like a French Peace Corps) in the mercury mines in Tunisia. This had quite an impact on his life, it being the first time he had been out of France and been exposed to healthcare in a poor country. At the end of his time there, he could question a patient in Arabic.

In 1974, he went to the Peter Brent Brigham Hospital as a research fellow to spend 15 months with Bernie Carpenter, and without question, this experience had a major impact on his whole future career. He also met his wife to be, Helga, in Boston, and she has been a great support for him ever since.

He returned to Nantes University, where by 1980, he had become Professor of Immunology. He was the founder and director of the prestigious Institute of Transplantation at the University of Nantes, a position he held from 1991 to 2010. He was also the founder and director of not 1, but 3 Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Medicalej (INSERM) units between 1986 and 2007. He also served on the external Advisory Board for the NIH Immune Tolerance Network and was the founder of 3 Biotech companies. He served on the editorial boards of a number of journals including the New England Journal of Medicine, American Journal of Transplantation, Transplant International, and Transplantation. He also founded the Nantes Actualitiés in Transplantation course which is held annually and remains extremely popular to this day.

As one might imagine, he has won quite a number of prizes for his work. For example, in 1998, he won the L. Binet Prize of the French Foundation of Medical Research; in 2002, the Eloi Collery Prize of the Academy of Medicine; in 2008, he was awarded The Transplantation Society Award for his outstanding achievement in transplantation science, and in 2012, he was awarded the prestigious Prix d'Honneur of INSERM (which is only given to 1 scientist each year) in recognition of his outstanding work with INSERM over many years.

He has published some 540 scientific articles, and of these, my favourites are his article in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1990 and also a follow-up in Lancet in 1997 showing that IL-2 receptor antibodies can prevent rejection; antibody to class II HLA antigens is associated with rejection (Lancet, 1978); the mechanism of immune tolerance and rejection (articles published in leading journals over many years) and another very important paper published in 1998 in the Lancet “Cancer after transplantation related to the weight of immunosuppression.”

Jean-Paul Soulillou is married to Helga, and has 3 children, Muriel, Adrien, and Marc. His only hobby is research, and he does not claim to have climbed Mount Everest, done white water rafting, played golf or, indeed, any of these rather macho pursuits, and he tells me that his only eccentricity is being French.

Jean-Paul Soulillou has been an outstanding clinical scientist in the field of transplantation, and Mr President, I cannot think of anyone worthier to be a recipient of the Medawar Prize.

Morris, Peter J.
Transplantation: December 2016 - Volume 100 - Issue 12 - p 2495-2497

The Medawar Prize Acceptance Speech 2016


Mister President, Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Colleagues and Friends.

I first would like to thank Sir Peter Morris, Prof, as I use to call him since a visiting professor stay on Oxford, for having accepted to introduce me to the audience and for his kind words. Needless to say how proud and grateful I feel for receiving this award. But I feel also very humble; humble not only in front of the iconic portrait of Peter Medawar of course but also in front of the gallery of the past Medawar Prize recipients. But more, I feel in front of this distinction as a kind of representative—only one of the several ambassadors of my generation.

Highlighted Articles


Opposition to irresponsible global kidney exchange

Francis L. Delmonico, Nancy L. Ascher
American Journal of Transplantation 21 August 2017 https://doi.org/10.1111/ajt.14473

We are writing in opposition to the proposed “global kidney exchange” that would solicit living donors from economically underdeveloped countries such as Mexico, the Philippines, Kenya, India, and Ethiopia. The experience of representatives from countries such as India and Mexico reported at the Vatican Pontifical Academy of Sciences Summit on the topic of organ trafficking in February 2017 was very clear—these locations are sites of organ trafficking.

Francis L. Delmonico, MD:
The Science of Organ Donation

In View: People in Transplantation
Transplantation: July 2016 - Volume 100 - Issue 7 - p 1394-1395

Transplantation: The discrepancy between demand and supply is one of the most pressing current problems in transplantation. What can we do to solve this problem?

FLD: The Declaration of Istanbul has highlighted the importance of reducing the demand for organ transplantation by stating that “National governments, working in collaboration with international and nongovernmental organizations, should develop and implement comprehensive programs for the screening, prevention and treatment of organ failure.”

The international realities of live donor kidney transplantation

F.-L. Delmonico, M.-A. Dew
Kidney International Volume 71, ISSUE 7, P608-614, April 01, 2007

Live donor kidney transplantation has become a widely sought treatment by patients with end-stage renal failure. As the outcome for the genetically and emotionally related live donor transplants is the same, this review considers live kidney transplantation from the broad scope of current international practice. Unrelated live donor transplantation can now be performed for incompatible donor recipient pairs via a simultaneous paired kidney donation.

Highlighted Videos


Update on testing and on the development of a COVID-19 vaccine

The Pontifical Academy of Sciences Plenary Session, 7-9 October 2020

Organ Transplants

Plenary Session of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences - 2018

TTS President's Plenary and Awards

2014 - World Transplant Congress

Interview with Francis L. Delmonico

for the 50th Anniversary of The Transplantation Society

Ethics of Organ Donation and Transplantation: An International Perspective - Francis Delmonico

The University of Chicago - 2012

The long-term consequences of kidney donation in the victims of trafficking in human beings (VTHBs) for the purpose of organ removal

2010 - TTS International Congress

The Istanbul declaration and beyond

2010 - TTS International Congress

Live Donor Exchange Program of New England

2009 - nKOL Sweden

Organ Transplant Debate: Francis Delmonico 5/13- Intelligence Squared U.S.

IntelligenceSquared Debates - 2008

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