Health

Knighthood for alcohol campaigner

  • 12 June 2010
  • From the section Health
Professor Ian Gilmore
Image caption Professor Gilmore has led the Royal College of Physicians since 2006

The head of the Royal College of Physicians, who has campaigned for measures to tackle alcohol misuse, has been knighted in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.

Professor Ian Gilmore has called for a raft of changes including a complete ban on alcohol advertising.

Also knighted is Professor Marc Feldmann, of Imperial College London, who helped identify TNF as a chemical target for arthritis drugs.

Many other medics are also honoured.

Professor Gilmore, who has also championed issues including NHS workforce planning, free prescriptions, and health inequalities, said: "I am delighted to receive this honour, which I believe acknowledges and reflects the tremendous efforts made by the RCP to improve health and healthcare in the UK and beyond.

"This is done by setting standards, educating doctors and promoting an environment where people can make choices that promote health and wellbeing."

Discovery

During the 1980s, Professor Marc Feldmann, who is now based at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology at Imperial College, began his study of autoimmunity - when the body turns in on itself.

In 1991, he and his research partner Ravinder Maini identified (TNF) tumour necrosis factor-alpha - a protein which triggers the inflammatory response within the immune system which lead to the condition.

Anti-TNF drugs were then developed which block the protein's action.

Professor Feldmann said: "It feels very good to be recognised, not only by the scientific community as we have been in the past, but now by the wider community."

He and his team are now trying to identify an equivalent of TNF for other diseases, including atherosclerosis - where fatty deposits build up in arteries leading to vascular disease such as stroke.

Also honoured is Professor Barbara Monroe, chief executive of London's St Christopher's Hospice, for her work in palliative care, who is to become a Dame.

Dr Mary Armitage, another leading member of the RCP who has specialised in medical education issues, Andrew Finlay, a former professor of dermatology at Cardiff University and Linda de Cossart, a vascular surgeon at the Countess of Chester Hospital, are among those who have been made CBEs.

Other NHS staff who have been recognised in the honours list include Greater Manchester GP Kailash Chand who is a prominent member of the British Medical Association with a keen interest in medico-political issues. He receives an OBE.