Lions International Blood Research Appeal 

LIBRA, the Lions International Blood Research Appeal, was conceived more than 30 years ago when, in 1976, the then District Governor Ian Scott Mackenzie of 105-SE was told of the urgent need for funding for the Haematology Unit at Kings College Hospital where invaluable research and treatment was being carried out in haemophilia, leukaemia and sickle cell disease.

Fund-raising began, thanks in part to a rallying 'Cry for Help' in THE LION, which was then in the care of PDG Colin Durham. Essential equipment was purchased, a Charitable Trust was set up, and a close relationship, which exists to this day, developed between the Lions and the Haemotology Unit.

Run down premises within the old hospital were transformed into a superb laboratory and other charities helped with funding. From 1982 to 1987 LIBRA was an official MD project. Princess Anne officially opened the new laboratories and over the years the facilities have been expanded and re-equipped, under the watchful eyes of the Trustees. Research has expanded into the areas of red cell haemotology and haemato-oncology and, in an exciting and innovative development, the Lions Laboratory has become a centre of excellence for research into the potential clinical benefits of cell stem technology.

The hospital is constructing a building dedicated to this new medical procedure, and the haematology department is working on techniques, not involving foetal stem cells, whereby stem cells can be altered to fight diseased cells, while leaving healthy cells untouched. LIBRA is involved in fund raising for this 250,0000 project (see right).Kings College Hospital is already a major centre for bone marrow transplantation, diabetes therapy and liver disease, with the highest liver transplantation programme in Europe, and serves those at high risk of blood diseases, cardiovascular and neurological disease as well as diabetes.

As PID Colin Vincent put it, writing last year in THE LION: 'It is all a very long way from 30 years ago when the problem first came to the attention of DG Scott Mackenzie... the Lions of MD105 can be proud of the treatments and research which have benefited literally millions of suffering people across the world".

LIBRA logo


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