Prof. Sir Marc Feldman FRS
Scientific Advisory Board
Prof. Sir Marc Feldmann FRS
Marc Feldmann is an Emeritus Professor of The Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology at Oxford University, UK.
His work is focused on the molecular mechanisms of how autoimmune diseases are triggered and maintained, and in particular the role of cytokines and how they drive processes such as inflammation, immunity and cell growth. Together with Ravinder N. Maini their research led to the identification of TNF (tumour necrosis factor) as a therapeutic target for rheumatoid arthritis. From 1984 they examined the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis, specifically the role played by the various signalling molecules, the cytokines, in regulating the disease processes. This work led them to realise that it was possible to treat the disease by blocking the action of TNF with anti-TNF antibodies. They led to trials with a monoclonal from a biotech called Centocor, which were very successful (now sold as infliximab, Remicade). Disclosure of results pre-publication led to other companies to use their anti-TNFs (all generated to treat sepsis) for this purpose. Maini and Feldmann are recognised internationally for 2 contributions, for first defining TNF as a target, and secondly demonstrating that the optimal use of anti-TNF was in co-therapy with methotrexate.
Extensive clinical trials showed that blocking the activity of TNF not only had a very beneficial effect on joint inflammation in a large majority of patients, but could also delay joint destruction. Millions of sufferers from various rheumatic disorders worldwide now receive treatment with TNF inhibitors, the drugs developed as a result of this path-breaking research. the anti-TNFs were the first monoclonals for long term use in a common disease, and have spearheaded the current 'revolution' in monoclonal antibody therapy.