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Prof. Herman Waldmann University of Oxford, UK

2 Talks 2 Series
Biography

Herman Waldmann, FRS is an Emeritus Professor of Pathology and former Head of the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology at the University of Oxford. An immunologist, he is best known for his work on therapeutic monoclonal antibodies, particularly Campath-1, now licensed as Lemtrada for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis.... read more

Dr. Waldmann received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Cambridge and began his scientific career there in the Department of Pathology. He became Head of the Immunology Division and was named Kay Kendall Chair in Therapeutic Immunology. It was at Cambridge that he studied mechanisms by which cells of the immune system could interact to mount immune responses. This early work led him to become interested in immunological tolerance and achieving tolerance for therapeutic purposes.

Since 1980 he has been funded by an Medical Research Council Programme Grant to study mechanisms of transplantation tolerance and strategies to achieve this both experimentally and clincially. In 1985 he published the first studies to show that short courses of CD4 antibody therapy could bring about long-term immunological tolerance to foreign proteins, and this work led to the first demonstrations of transplantation tolerance resulting from short-tem antibody blockade.

His mechanistic studies of tolerance uncovered a role for regulatory T-cells in infectious tolerance which was published in a seminal paper in Science in 1993. The strategies emerging from his laboratory since that time have been based on the use of therapeutic antibodies to enhance regulation over conventional T-cell immunity.

In order to apply antibodies clinically Waldmann developed the first academic antibody therapeutic manufacturing facility. He and his team were able to apply clinical-grade antibodies in a wide range of probing therapeutic studies that enabled them to develop a series of humanized antibodies (CD52, CD3, CD4 and others) which have since been transferred to the pharmceutical industry.

His team’s work since 1971 has resulted in more than 500 publications, the majority directed to therapeutic antibodies and their mechanisms of action. These contributions have led to his election to the Royal Society in 1990. Professor Waldmann is the recipeint of the Jose Carreras Medal of the European Hematology Society, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Excellence in Clinical Research Award (2005), Thomas E Starzl Prize in Surgery and Immunology, Scrip Lifetime Achievement award (2007)and an Honorary Doctorate (DSc) from the University of Cambridge (2008).