Personalised medicine has evolved from the ethics of the Hammurabi Code and Hippocrates, judgements of the apothecary and uromancer, and good bedside manner, to modern application of genetics to guiding development, selection and monitoring of medicines. The Postgraduate Medical Journal was launched in 1925 in the era of the discovery of insulin and penicillin, pioneering examples of development and introduction of life-saving and life-changing medicines during the latter three-quarters of the 20th Century.
A Symposium was organised in London on 1st October 2015 by the Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine to mark the 90th Anniversary of its first official journal, the Postgraduate Medical Journal
Speakers included FPM Fellow Professor Munir Pirmohamed who discussed Progress in Personalised Medicine.
Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed is David Weatherall Chair in Medicine at the University of Liverpool, and a Consultant Physician at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital. He is also the Associate Executive Pro Vice Chancellor for Clinical Research and Head of Department of Molecular and Clinical Pharmacology. He also holds the only NHS Chair of Pharmacogenetics in the UK, and is Director of the M.R.C. Centre for Drug Safety Sciences, and Director of the Wolfson Centre for Personalised Medicine. He is also an inaugural NIHR Senior Investigator, and Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in the UK. He has authored over 370 peer-reviewed publications.
Professor Pirmohamed’s research focuses on individual variability in drug response (including anti-cancer drugs), both safety and efficacy, with a view to evaluating the mechanisms, and identifying strategies to personalise healthcare in order to optimise drug efficacy and minimise toxicity. The work spans the whole spectrum from discovery to implementation with laboratory based studies being linked translationally to patient studies, with the aim being to develop the evidence base that can move discoveries from the lab to the clinic, and from clinic to application. Professor Pirmohamed has received a number of honours including most recently, the William Withering Medal from the Royal College of Physicians.
Speakers on the day commented on what medicine was like in the 1920s, current progress in their field, and what is in prospect over the next 90 years. Other speakers included FPM Fellow Professor Peter Barnes FRS, London, on evolution of asthma and COPD over 90 years, Professor Dame Carol Black, Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge and Past-President of the Royal College of Physicians who discussed opportunities to improve public health through a focus on health in the workplace, Professor Melanie Davies (Leicester) on progress in managing diabetes, vascular surgeon Professor Alison Halliday (Oxford) on carotid surgery to prevent stroke, FPM Fellow cardiac surgeon Wade Dimitri (Coventry) who discussed early development of heart surgery, FPM Fellow Andrew Marsh, who will discuss new approaches drug discovery, Dr Paul Nunn (London), former Director of the WHO Tuberculosis Programme, on advances in managing tuberculosis, Professor Dudley Pennell (London) on advances in imaging the heart, Dr June Raine (MHRA, London) on vigilance and risk management of medicines, Emeritus Professor Terence Ryan (Oxford) on Sir William Osler, Professor Karol Sikora (London) on cancer – a disease of our time, and Dr David Wilkinson, President of the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (London) on development of anaesthesia over the past 90 years.