Celebrating 172 years of GOSH

Celebrating 172 years of GOSH
Celebrating 172 years of GOSH

On Wednesday 14 February, GOSH is celebrating its 172nd birthday. With 2024 being a leap year, we wanted to look back at some of the leaps that we have made in medical science over the past 172 years… 

1852 – First hospital in UK to dedicate care to children 

GOSH opened with just 10 beds,and was the first hospital in the UK to offer dedicated inpatient care to children.  

1934 – First hospital in the UK to obtain the Drinker Respirator 

Also known as the ‘iron lung’, this device was used to treat polio by helping to expand children’s lungs, allowing them to breathe easier. It was subsequently loaned out to other hospitals. 




1950s – GOSH’s Thoracic Ward is established 

GOSH’s Thoracic Unit, the UK’s first joint medical and surgical ward was established, focusing on the diagnosis and treatment of children with chest and heart diseases. 

1962 – GOSH pioneers first heart and lung bypass machine 

This machine was used to help repair heart problems in children, and by 1967, 60 per cent of infants with severe heart and lung problems were surviving.  

1970s – New technique developed to isolate vital immune cells 

One of GOSH’s immunologists, developed a technique used to isolate vital immune cells in the blood, extracting immune cells from a healthy donor and transplanting them into a child. 

1988 – Transplant unit set up at GOSH 

One of the first centres in the UK to carry out life-saving transplants on children with heart failure was set up. Today, the programme is one of the largest in the world, performing around 20 heart and lung transplants a year. 

1999 – Kinder bone marrow transplant developed 

With less intense chemotherapy, this new transplant helped treat children who were too sick for standard doses of drugs. 

2001 – Groundbreaking programme of research into gene therapy begins 

Immunologists at GOSH sparked a groundbreaking programme of research into gene therapy, a technique where a faulty section of DNA (a gene) is replaced with a working copy. The team began a trial that would become the second-ever successful trial of gene therapy for any disease anywhere in the world. 

2012 – GOSH opens Europe’s first research centre to tackle birth defects 

The Newlife Birth Defects Research Centre opened its doors in 2012. 

2015 – New wave of CAR T-cell research sparked around the world 

GOSH immunologist used CAR T-cells to treat a one-year-old patient with ‘incurable’ leukaemia. This incredible world-first sparks a new wave of CAR T-cell research around the world. 

2017 - Epic patient record system launched at GOSH 

This was a big undertaking for the hospital but has transformed the way care is delivered to our patients. 

2020 – Rapid profiling platform has global impact on COVID-19 reporting for children  

The secure Digital Research Environment (DRE) allowed GOSH to set up a rapid COVID-19 profiling platform. This had a global impact as the single largest study of COVID-19 in children and the only study reporting on COVID-19 infection in children with underlying high-risk vulnerabilities. 

2021 - 100,000 Genome Project uncovers new diagnoses for patients  

A world-first scientific study with major involvement from GOSH, showed that whole genome sequencing could uncover new diagnoses for people across the broadest range of rare diseases investigated to date and could deliver enormous benefits across the NHS. 

Rare disease genome sequencing uncovers new diagnoses for patients | Great Ormond Street Hospital (gosh.nhs.uk)  

2021 – Non-invasive imaging technique helps parents find answers after miscarriage 

The imaging team at GOSH developed a non-invasive imaging technique for the post-mortem imaging of babies who are miscarried or stillborn. The technique can provide answers for bereaved parents and help tackle the stigma around pregnancy loss and miscarriage. 

Helping parents find answers after miscarriage | Great Ormond Street Hospital (gosh.nhs.uk) 


2022 - GOSH patient receives world-first treatment for 'incurable' T-cell leukaemia 

13-year-old Alyssa became the first reported patient in the world to receive base-edited T-cells at GOSH, in collaboration with the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health (UCL GOS ICH), to treat her ‘incurable’ T cell leukaemia. 

GOSH delivers world-first treatment for Leukaemia | Base editing and CAR T-cell Therapy | Great Ormond Street Hospital | Great Ormond Street Hospital 

2023 - GOSH receives new MHRA authorisation to manufacture viral vectors 

GOSH was granted a Manufacturer's Authorisation Licence for the manufacture of viral vectors, which will enable an acceleration in cell and gene therapy clinical trials and expand the novel treatments that we can offer to our patients. 

GOSH receives new MHRA authorisation to manufacture viral vectors | Great Ormond Street Hospital 


Looking ahead… 

We are continually striving to boost translational research and innovation at GOSH and supporting the development of careers in these fields. For example, through funding we have received for the NIHR GOSH Biomedical Research Centre and the NIHR GOSH Clinical Research Facility 

GOSH’s first-of-its-kind Data Research, Innovation and Virtual Environments Unit (DRIVE) is also exploring ways to use data and technology to transform patient care, improve the experience for staff delivering care and introduce efficiencies for the healthcare system. For example, DRIVE are currently exploring how Artificial Intelligence tools, remote monitoring and clinical data analytics could benefit patients and staff at the Trust. 

And, with support from GOSH Charity, we are building our new Children’s Cancer Centre. Replacing the outdated Frontage Building, it will make a significant difference to everyone coming to GOSH. Alongside the four floors dedicated to cancer care, we will have a new main entrance and hospital school as well as additional theatres, critical care and imaging facilities.



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