Lives of the fellows

Christopher Martin Lockwood

2 December 1945 d.7 September 1999
BA Cantab(1967) MB BChir(1970) MRCP(1973) FRCP(1984)

Note: the first obituary (below) was published in print form in Volume XI; the second was received after publication of the printed edition.

Christopher Martin Lockwood was a reader at Cambridge University, a consultant physician at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, and one of the leading innovators in the emerging field of therapeutic immunology. He was born in Halifax, the son of Eric Lockwood, a civil servant. He was educated at Ashville College, Harrogate, and then went on to Queen’s College, Cambridge, where he was a Foundation scholar and gained first class honours. He was a Fillitser scholar at University College Hospital and won various prizes, including the gold medal in surgery and pathology.

After various junior hospital posts, he joined the renal unit at Hammersmith Hospital as a senior clinical research fellow and honorary consultant physician. In 1987 he moved to Cambridge and in 1996 was appointed as a reader in therapeutic immunology.

He was one of the first to realise the need to establish the mechanisms for controlling immune response, particularly in the treatment of autoimmune diseases. His work led to the establishment of plasma exchange, where the patient’s plasma containing harmful autoantibodies is exchanged for normal plasma or plasma substitute. His later work focused on developing more subtle methods of controlling immune reactions, specifically developing genetically engineered monoclonal antibodies in the treatment of autoimmunity.

He was tragically killed in a sailing accident when he was just 53. He was married to Janet, a consultant radiologist. They had a son and daughter.

RCP editor

[The Times 17 Sept 1999;, 2000,320,190]

Martin Lockwood was a university reader in therapeutic immunology at the University of Cambridge, and honorary consultant physician at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge. He was born in Halifax, Yorkshire, and educated at Ashville College, Harrogate, where he was a scholar. From there he obtained a foundation scholarship to Queen’s College, Cambridge, where he had an outstanding undergraduate career. It was at Cambridge that he first developed an interest in pathology, receiving the college prize in this subject, and he went on to qualify with a first class degree. He moved to University College Hospital Medical School for his clinical studies, where he obtained further scholarships and won the gold medal in surgery and pathology. He continued his clinical training in prestigious posts around London, including senior house officer positions at Hammersmith, Queen Square and Brompton.

He returned to Hammersmith Hospital in 1974 as registrar to Keith Peters. The Hammersmith renal unit was becoming a hotbed of research into immune mechanisms in renal disease and provided the ideal environment in which Martin’s talents could flourish. From that time on, until his untimely death, he devoted himself to studying the causes of auto-immune disease, in order to develop new approaches to treatment. One of his earliest contributions at Hammersmith was to pioneer the use of plasma exchange for Goodpasture’s disease. A consistent feature of his work was that he always attempted to correlate the effects of treatment on the immune response with the clinical outcome of the patients concerned. For example, in Goodpasture’s disease, he made detailed studies of circulating anti-GBM antibodies during treatment with plasma exchange and demonstrated that their removal correlated in general with clinical improvement. He went on to show the effect of plasma exchange in other disorders characterised by auto-antibodies, including myasthenia gravis and systemic vasculitis.

In addition to his clinical work at Hammersmith, Martin also established an active research laboratory. He developed immunoassays for a variety of auto-antibodies, including the anti-GBM antibodies in Goodpasture’s disease and anti-neutrophil cytoplasm antiobodies (ANCA) in systemic vasculitis. In relation to this work, he undertook detailed studies of the auto-antigens concerned, and was usually right in his conclusions. Martin also developed an interest in the mechanisms underlying the regulation of auto-immune responses, and investigated these with great success in experimental models of auto-immune disease. His ability was recognised by the award of a presitigious Wellcome senior clinical research fellowship, which allowed him to continue his research in parallel with clinical practice.

In 1987, Martin moved to Cambridge, together with others in the group. Building on his previous work in auto-immunity, he pioneered the use of monoclonal antibody therapy in systemic vasculitis. He used ‘humanised’ monoclonal antibodies directed against the lymphocytes known to underlie the auto-immune process. The appeal of this approach was that it should provide more specific and effective control of auto-immune disease, without the side-effects inherent in broad spectrum immunosuppressive drugs. Although this work was still ongoing at the time of his death, Martin established monoclonal antibody therapy as a promising approach in patients with refractory vasculitis. As in his earlier work on plasma exchange, he was always looking for new ways to monitor the effects of treatment on the immune response as well as the clinical outcome.

Martin’s work was internationally recognised, and he was frequently invited to speak at major conferences around the world, including giving two state of the art addresses to the American Society of Nephrology. He published his work extensively, and was regarded as a leader in the field of therapeutic immunology. His success was due to a combination of originality, enthusiasm and hard work. His enthusiasm was highly infectious, and he stimulated an interest in research in many young clinicians who worked with him. He was full of ideas, and working with Martin was always exciting, sometimes exhausting, but never dull. He proved that it was possible to combine research and clinical work, and was a good example of someone who took research from ‘the bench to the bedside’.

Martin was an accomplished speaker with a considerable presence at the podium, and his talks were always beautifully presented and illustrated. Although he made it look easy, his presentations were always immaculately prepared. Martin was an excellent travelling companion on these trips, and his enthusiasm for the science was often matched by his enthusiasm for the social events. He enjoyed organising meetings and was equally good at choosing the wine for dinner or the musical entertainment, as he was at getting the right speakers. He died shortly before a symposium on vasculitis, which he had co-organised at Cambridge, and which was dedicated to him. At the International Vasculitis/ANCA Workshop in Holland in April 2000, the Martin Lockwood memorial lecture was named in his honour.

Despite the demanding nature of his work, Martin had a very full and rewarding personal life. He loved sailing and took every opportunity to be on a boat. Sadly, it was while pursuing this interest that Martin died in a sailing accident in September 1999. He also had a great love of classical music and was particularly fond of opera. He and his wife, Janet, whom he met when they were medical students, had an extremely old and attractive house in a village near Cambridge. The house was surrounded by a beautiful garden, complete with its own stream, and Martin became an increasingly enthusiastic gardener. He and Janet were excellent hosts, and friends and colleagues from around the world were always invited to stay when they were anywhere near Cambridge. He was very proud of his two children, one son and one daughter, both of whom followed their parents’ choice of career in medicine.

Charles D Pusey

(Volume XI, page web)

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