Collection of the month - Michael Stewart Rees Hutt (1922-2000)
In the wake of World Cancer Day last weekend, we have been considering scientists represented in the LSHTM archives who contributed towards the understanding and prevention of cancers. Michael Stewart Rees Hutt, whose papers make up one of our smallest collections, is one of these.
Hutt was an English pathologist who spent nearly a decade of his career in Uganda during the 1960s, as Professor of Pathology at Makerere University College, Kampala. As well as helping to shape and strengthen the medical infrastructure in Uganda, including establishing a successful cancer register there, Hutt used this time to travel around the mission and government hospitals of Uganda and eastern Zaire with Dennis Burkitt, gathering cancer incidence data. In addition to demonstrating the non-uniformity of cancers like Burkitt's lymphoma, oesophageal and liver cancer, their research brought to light the prevalence of Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) on the Uganda/Zaire border, where it accounted for 10 per cent of all tumours among adults. KS was initially one of the most common AIDS symptoms, making this discovery crucial when the epidemic of HIV and Aids became apparent in later decades.
Hutt’s return to the UK in 1970 did not signal the end of his interest in Africa. As Professor of Geographical Pathology at St Thomas’, he developed a system of diagnostic pathology for resource-poor countries and he continued to support medicine in Africa long after his retirement in 1983.
The archives hold diaries and papers relating to Hutt’s work, including accounts of his safari to the Western Province in 1962 and his Uganda trip in 1967.