Professor Hillmen qualified in Medicine at Leeds Medical School in 1985 and completed his general medical training in Leeds in 1988. He was a Haematology Registrar in Hammersmith Hospital, London between 1989 and 1990 before completing three years as a Wellcome Training Fellow based at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School (1991 to 1993) completing a PhD working on PNH under the supervision of Professor Lucio Luzzatto. He then moved back to Leeds as a Senior Registrar in Haematology, Yorkshire (1994 to 1996). He was appointed as a Consultant Haematologist Mid-Yorkshire Trust and Leeds General Infirmary in 1996 before moving to Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust in 2004. He was appointed as Professor of Experimental Haematology, University of Leeds in 2013.
Professor Hillmen has research interests in both paroxysmal nocturnal haemoglobinuria (PNH) and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL). Since 1990 he has continued to research into PNH that eventually led to the development of anti-complement therapy for PNH. He was the lead on the trials of eculizumab and now leads the National PNH Service based in Leeds and Kings. The National PNH service looks after over 300 patients with PNH and this provides a unique resource for continued research into the pathophysiology and therapy of PNH.
Since 1995 Professor Hillmen has had an interest in understanding the pathophysiology of and in developing novel therapies for CLL. His group has pioneered the use of minimal residual disease assessment in CLL. He Chaired the NCRI CLL sub-group in the UK responsible for the development of UK CLL Clinical Trials between 2002 and 2018. Since 2017 he has Chaired the NCRI Haematological Oncology Clinical Study Group. He initially studied chemo-immunotherapeutic approaches for CLL but recently the development of targeted small molecules, particularly of the B-cell receptor pathway and of apoptosis, has led to a dramatic change in the treatment of CLL. His research now focuses on the mechanism of action of these targeted therapies in order to maximise their potential.
Professor Hillmen has published over 200 papers and in 2017 was awarded the Binet-Rai Medal for his outstanding contribution to CLL research. He also Chairs the International PNH Interest Group.
EM-61408 - Date of preparation: May 2021