ⓘ Marc Feldmann


ⓘ Marc Feldmann

Feldmann was born 2 December 1944 in Lvov to a Jewish family who managed to get to France immediately postwar. He emigrated from France to Australia at age eight. After graduating with an MBBS degree from the University of Melbourne in 1967, he earned a Ph.D. in Immunology at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in 1972 with Sir Gustav Nossal.

He moved to London in the 1970s, working first with Avrion Mitchison at the Imperial Cancer Research Funds Tumour Immunology Unit; in 1985 he moved to the Charing Cross Sunley Research Centre and the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology (which joined with the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College in 2000; in August 2011 the Institute transferred to the University of Oxford.


1. Research

In the 1980s he published an hypothesis for the mechanism of induction of autoimmune diseases, highlighting the role of cytokines. This model was validated in experiments with thyroid disease tissue. From 1984 he collaborated with Ravinder N. Maini at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology to study disease mechanism in rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease affecting 1% of the population.

Feldmanns group demonstrated that diseased joints have far more pro-inflammatory cytokines than normal, and identified one of these, tumour necrosis factor alpha, abbreviated TNFα as the key.

Blocking TNFα reduced levels of the other pro-inflammatory cytokines in test-tube models of arthritis, and this provided the rationale for testing TNF blockade in rheumatoid arthritis patients which had failed all existing treatment.

The first of a series of successful clinical trials was performed in 1992 at Charing Cross Hospital, using the antibody infliximab from Centocor, a biotech now part of Johnson and Johnson.

The success led to other companies joining the race to market. By 1998, etanercept Enbrel was approved for treatment in the US, and by 1999, infliximab Remicade was also approved; there have been multiple additional approved anti-TNF drugs, and they have beome standard therapy cfor stopping the inflammatory and tissue-destructive pathways of rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases including Crohns disease, ulcerative colitis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.


2. Prizes and fellowships

In 2000, Feldmann and Maini were awarded the Crafoord Prize;. in 2003, the Albert Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research; in 2002, the Cameron Prize for Therapeutics of the University of Edinburgh; in 2008, the Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research; in 2010, the Ernst Schering Prize in Germany; in 2014, the Canada Gairdner International Award. Feldmann was also awarded the John Curtin Medal of the Australian National University in 2007.

Feldmann is Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and of the Royal College of Pathologists. He was elected a Fellow of several national Academies, the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Royal Society of London and is a Corresponding Member of Australian Academy of Science, and a Foreign Member of the National Academy of Sciences, USA. He was knighted in the 2010 Queens Birthday Honours.

In 2012 he delivered the Croonian Lecture to the Royal College of Physicians on anti-cytokine therapy.