Marc Feldmann

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Sir Marc Feldmann
Born (1944-12-02) 2 December 1944 (age 73)
Residence London, England
Citizenship Australian/British
Alma mater
Known for discovery of anti-TNF therapy as an effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases
Scientific career
Fields Immunology
Institutions Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, University of Oxford
Doctoral students Ashok Venkitaraman[1]

Sir Marc Feldmann, AC FAA FRS FRCP FRCPath FMedSci (born 2 December 1944), is an Australian immunologist, and a professor at the University of Oxford.


Feldmann was born 2 December 1944 in Lvov to a Jewish family who managed to get to France immediately postwar.[2][3][4] He emigrated from France to Australia at age eight.[4] 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.[2][3]

He moved to London in the 1970s, working first with Professor Avrion Mitchison at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund's Tumour Immunology Unit, then in 1985 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 and in August 2011 the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology transferred to the University of Oxford.[3]

In the 1980s he published a new hypothesis for the mechanism of induction of autoimmune diseases, highlighting the role of cytokines.[5] Cytokines are potent signalling proteins, local hormones, which drive important processes like inflammation, immunity and cell growth. 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, a much more clinically important autoimmune disease, affecting 1% of the population.[6]

In autoimmune diseases, the immune system attacks and damages the body, leading to disease of various organs, for example joints in rheumatoid arthritis. Feldmann's 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.[7]

Blocking TNFα reduced levels of the other pro-inflammatory cytokines in test-tube models of arthritis,[8] 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 an antibody, infliximab from Centocor, a biotech now part of Johnson and Johnson.[citation needed]

The success led to other companies joining the race to market, and by 1998,[9] etanercept (Enbrel) [10] was approved for treatment in the US, and by 1999, infliximab (Remicade) was also approved. Now there are 5 approved anti-TNF drugs, and they are extensively used, with more than 2 million successfully treated patients.

Since then, TNFα inhibitors have become the therapy of choice for stopping the inflammatory and tissue-destructive pathways of rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases including Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.[11][6]

Prizes and fellowships[edit]

Marc Feldmann and Ravinder Maini shared many awards for their discovery. In 2000, Feldmann and Maini were awarded the Crafoord Prize "for identification of TNF blockade as an effective therapeutic principle in rheumatoid arthritis".[12][13] In 2003, the two were awarded the Albert Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research for discovery of anti-TNF therapy as an effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.[14] In 2004, the Cameron Prize for Therapeutics of University of Edinburgh. In 2007, Feldmann was awarded The European Patent Offices "European Inventor of the Year" in the Lifetime Achievement Category.[6] In 2008 he was awarded the Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research together with Maini.[15] He was awarded the John Curtin Medal of the Australian National University in 2007. Feldmann and Maini were awarded the Ernst Schering Prize in Germany in 2010, and the Canada Gairdner International Award in 2014.

He 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 Queen's Birthday Honours.[16]

In 2012 he delivered the Croonian Lecture to the Royal College of Physicians on anti-cytokine therapy.[17]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Feldmann, M. (2009) Translating molecular insights in autoimmunity into effective therapy. Annu. Rev. Immunol. 27: 1-27.
  3. ^ a b c "Feldmann, Marc". Retrieved 21 November 2008. 
  4. ^ a b "Marc Feldmann" (PDF). Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Services. Retrieved 21 November 2008. 
  5. ^ Bottazzo, G.F., Pujol-Borrell, R., Hanafusa, T. and Feldmann, M. (1983) Hypothesis: Role of aberrant HLA-DR expression and antigen presentation in the induction of endocrine autoimmunity. Lancet ii: 1115-1119.
  6. ^ a b c "Professor Marc Feldmann wins top lifetime achievement award". News-Medical.Net. Retrieved 21 November 2008. 
  7. ^ Feldmann, M., Brennan, F.M. and Maini, R.N. (1996) Role of cytokines in rheumatoid arthritis. Annu Rev. Immunol. 14: 397-440.
  8. ^ Brennan, F.M., Chantry, D., Jackson, A., Maini, R.N. and Feldmann, M. (1989) Inhibitory effect of TNF-alpha antibodies on synovial cell interleukin-1 production in rheumatoid arthritis. Lancet ii: 244-247.
  9. ^ Elliott, M.J., Maini, R.N., Feldmann, M., Long-Fox, A., Charles, P., Katsikis, P., Brennan, F.M., Walker, J., Bijl, H., Ghrayeb, J. and Woody, J. (1993) Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis with chimeric monoclonal antibodies to TNF-alpha. Arth. Rheum 36: 1681-90.
  10. ^ Elliott, M.J., Maini, R.N., Feldmann, M., Kalden, J.R., Antoni, C., Smolen, J.S., Leeb, B., Breedveld, F.C., Macfarlane, J.D., Bijl, H. and Woody, J.N. (1994) Randomised double blind comparison of a chimaeric monoclonal antibody to tumour necrosis factor-alpha (cA2) versus placebo in rheumatoid arthritis. Lancet 344: 1105-1110.
  11. ^ Feldmann, M. and Maini, R.N. (2001) Anti-TNF-alpha therapy of rheumatoid arthritis: What have we learned? Annual Review Immunology 19: 163-196.
  12. ^ "Crafoord Prize 2000". The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 23 November 2008. [dead link]
  13. ^ "Crafoord Prize 2000 Press Release". The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 24 November 2008. [dead link]
  14. ^ "The 2003 Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award". Lasker Foundation. Retrieved 21 November 2008. 
  15. ^ "Professors Marc Feldmann and Sir Ravinder Maini Named Winners of the 2008 Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research". Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Services. Archived from the original on 29 January 2010. Retrieved 23 November 2008. 
  16. ^ "No. 59446". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 June 2010. p. 1. 
  17. ^ "Royal College of Physicians- Events Diary". Royal College of Physicians. Archived from the original on 23 December 2012. Retrieved 7 September 2012. 

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