Prof. Graham Hughes

International Awards

Hamdan Award for Medical Research Excellence - Rheumatologic Diseases

Personal & Academic Details:

Prof. Graham Hughes is the Head of the London Lupus Centre at the London Bridge Hospital. He has been trained and qualified at The London Hospital. In 1969 - 1970 he spent two years working with a Postgraduate Fellowship in New York at the Rheumatology & Lupus Centre of Dr Charles Christian. Professor Hughes became a Consultant Physician at Hammersmith Hospital where he set up Europe’s first dedicated Lupus Clinic in 1973. 
He described the clotting disorder now known as Hughes Syndrome in 1983 and he set up the Lupus Unit at St Thomas’ Hospital in 1985. In 1993 he received the World Rheumatology (ILAR) Research Prize for the description of Hughes Syndrome. He is a member of the American Lupus “Hall of Fame, and Doctor 
Honoris Causa at the Universities of Marseille and Barcelona, a Master of the American College of Rheumatology and founder and editor of the International Journal LUPUS .
The Dean of the University of Barcelona, Prof. Miquel Vilardell said there are two new diseases of the late 20th Century: AIDS and the Antiphospholipid Syndrome now known as Hughes Syndrome.

Research Achievements:

Since Graham Hughes’ detailed description of the antiphospholipid syndrome (APS), the condition has come to be regarded as one of the most common auto-immune diseases. The impact of the description has been enormous – for example, the recognition that some individuals with connective tissue diseases require anticoagulation rather than steroids or antiinflammatory treatment has brought about a fundamental change in medical practice. 
In obstetrics, APS is now regarded as the most important prothrombotic cause of recurrent pregnancy loss. In neurology, Hughes syndrome may be associated with up to 20% of strokes in people under 40 – a striking figure, not least in terms of medical economics, let alone in potential medical suffering.
In vascular diseases, Hughes syndrome may well provide insights into immunological factors in the pathogenesis of atheroma. In view of its increasing complexity, colleagues at The 6th APS meeting in Louvain put forward the eponym Hughes syndrome, in honour of the physician who fully described the condition – an eponym with which most colleagues working in the field are content. Graham Hughes’ description of the condition was not, as commonly the case, based on a single case report or small series. It was a truly comprehensive and lifetime work, starting in the world of lupus. 
The 1983 description of the syndrome was the culmination of a decade of work in which careful clinical observations were combined not only with scientific studies, but also with a sharing of information. His ward rounds were and are famous for the cross-fertilization of ideas. 
This syndrome is common and the description of the APS by Graham Hughes has had an impact on patients in all corners of medical practice” 
All these patients were always there in lupus clinics, in migraine clinics, in anticoagulant clinics with strokes, with multiple sclerosis and with a gamut of vascular problems. It is also probable that many patients, notably those with memory loss or subtle neurological deficit – remain undiagnosed. 

What is the contribution of APS/Hughes syndrome to world medicine? There are ten clear facts explain this:

  1. Hughes syndrome has changed the course of obstetrics, has shed light on the blight of recurrent miscarriage and stillbirth
  2. One in five young strokes may have antiphospholipid antibodies Diagnosable, Treatable, Preventable
  3. “Idiopathic” epilepsy – another potentially treatable cause now discovered
  4. Heart attack: A simple blood test could predict and prevent  heart attack in a group of young women
  5. ‘Idiopathic’ fracture: APS may be an important (preventable?) cause of a group of patients with ‘unexplained’ fractures Migraine. APS/Hughes syndrome – a new area of focus for treatment. A potential link between migraine and stroke 6. Multiple sclerosis: some patients actually have “sticky blood”- potentially treatable
  6.  Late memory loss: A new, easily diagnosed subset of patients with “vascular dementia”, potentially treatable 8. DVT and pulmonary embolism: A subset of patients could be identified and protected from further thrombosis. For example, screening of women suffering DVT on the oral contraceptive pill.

Awards & Recognitions:

  •  Heberden Round Medal - 1982
  •  Elected to American Lupus “Hall of Fame” - 1987
  •  Winner - Ciba-Geigy (ILAR) - 1993
  •  International Rheumatology Research Prize for the  discovery of the Antiphospholipid (Hughes) Syndrome Docteur Honoris Causa, Universite de la Mediterranee - 2001
  •  Pemberton Medal. Philadelphia Medical Society - 2002
  •  Docteur Honoris Causa, University of Barcelona - 2004
  •  Professor of Medicine, King’s College London - 2005
  •  Master:  American College of Rheumatology - 2006
  •  Henry Fuller Medal, UK - 2006 • AESKU Lifetime Achievement Award - 2006 (International Society of Immunology) 
Over the ensuing 35 years, Hughes syndrome has been recognized as a major, treatable condition in neurology, cardiology, rheumatology, and in most other branches of medicine. In summary, the discovery has proved far more than a simple ‘rheumatology’ find, it is a treatable cause of illness in millions of patients, Hughes syndrome has changed the lives of patients all over the world.
In recognition of his outstanding contributions, Prof. Graham Hughes is awarded Hamdan Award for Medical Research Excellence, for the 2017-2018 term.


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