Interview with Nagy Habib
Professor Nagy Habib, ChM, FRCS
Chair of Surgery, Imperial College London
Who were your early mentors?
Professor Henri Bismuth, pioneer and renowned international expert in the field of hepatobiliary disease who set up the first liver transplant Centre in France.
Professor Tom Starzl (University of Pittsburgh), surgeon and researcher often referred to as the Father of Modern Transplantation as he performed the first liver transplants.
I was privileged to spend time working with both these outstanding surgeons.
How did you become involved in OTS?
I am an academic hepatobiliary surgeon, and a serial founder and entrepreneur of life sciences ventures and a translational researcher. I am the co-founder of several biotech companies: EMcision Ltd, OmniCyte Ltd, MiNA Therapeutics Ltd, Apterna Ltd, Medeva Plc and Bioenvision Ltd. Previously I was Pro-Rector for Commercial Affairs at Imperial College London. I pioneered the first clinical trial of the use of plasmid and adenovirus for the treatment of liver cancer, as well as the use of plasmid gene therapy in hydrodynamic gene delivery. I was the Principal Investigator of world first clinical trials published on the use of adult bone marrow-derived stem cells for the treatment of patients with liver insufficiency and CD34+ cells for patients with stroke.I was the inventor and co-author on the first publication to describe the use of radiofrequency energy in devices for liver surgery (Habib 4X), and interventional endoscopy (Habib™ EndoHPB and Habib™ EUS-RFA).When I found an RNA oligonucleotide that showed potential to treat primary liver cancer I wanted to learn as much as possible about oligos from my peers. It seemed natural to join the OTS.
Why do you continue to support the OTS?
I love this society. The members are welcoming and friendly and have a generosity to share their research.
What is special about the type of research/work you’ve done?
My research focus is targeted to improve treatments for patients. Over several decades my research has led to several firsts; first in Europe to trial autologous stem cell therapy, first to apply this to patients with acute stroke and liver cirrhosis; the first to publish work on bloodless liver resection; the first to trial a first in human and a first in class RNA oligonucleotide in patients with liver cancer.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I practice yoga every day before I start work as I find it opens both the body and the mind.
Any other fun facts/tidbits you’d like us to know?
I like watching the waves at the seaside, sunsets and the moon rising from the sea.