Peter Julius Lachmann print  
Peter Lachmann trained in medicine at Cambridge and University College Hospital and obtained a PhD and ScD in Cambridge in immunology.

His principal research interests are:
The immunochemistry, biology and genetics of the complement system
Microbial immunology. Particular topics include microbial subversion of the innate immune response and the immunology of measles
Enhancement of the immune response and its relevance to vaccines
Immunopathology, particularly in relation to systemic LE and to multiple sclerosis
Insect sting allergy

He is emeritus Sheila Joan Smith Professor of Immunology in the University of Cambridge and a fellow of Christ’s College. He is also President Emeritus of the Federation of European Academies of Medicine and of the Henry Kunkel Society

He was the founder President of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences (1998-2002) and has served as its representative on the Inter Academy Medical Panel executive committee since its inception. He has been Biological secretary of the Royal Society (1993 –98) and President of the Royal College of Pathologists (1990-93); and served on UNESCO’s international bioethics committee from 1993-98. In these capacities he has become involved with the ethical and policy aspects of medical science, particularly in connection with vaccination, stem cells, transmissible spongiform encephalopathies and genetically modified food crops.
The Ups and the Downs of Health Discoveries
Health Discoveries address three principal aims: preventing disease; understanding and diagnosing disease; and treating disease. The spectacular advances not only in biology but also in physical science and engineering have allowed great progress in achieving each of the three aims; but have also engendered controversy and opposition. For prevention examples will include the use of genetics to predict disease susceptibility for common disease as well as for single genes disorders. This has profound implications for the organisation of medical care as well as for insurance and the ever controversial question of abortion. The recognition that very early life environment predicts later disease gives further promise of prevention as do life style modifications – which have proved quite difficult to bring about Diagnosis has been transformed by clinical pathology and by powerful imaging techniques. These are the tools for diagnosing disease and have been, in part at least, rejected by those who believe in holistic medicine and are sceptical of specific causes for specific pathological processes. The use of tests for screening healthy populations is a growing area where evidence base for benefit is always needed. Treatment aims at “cure” but increasingly provides “management” instead. This has given rise to uncontrollable increases in the expense of best care – a problem that no system of provision has yet solved. It is possible that new technologies such as stem cell therapy may provide more cures but that is so far an aspiration. The high cost of treatment is made worse by unreasonable risk averseness in this area which makes drug development so expensive. There remains the uncomfortable assertion that up to half of the average person’s life time medical expenditure is incurred in the last six months of life –whenever this occurs. While this is the case every new health discovery will make the provision of health care more expensive. This has major implications for humane and sensible care of terminal disease