John Raymond Hobbs

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 26 August 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a1434
  1. Caroline Richmond

    Pathologist who unravelled immunoglobulin and myeloma chemistry, and pioneered bone marrow transplantation

    John Raymond Hobbs, known as Jack, pioneered bone marrow transplantation in Britain at the Westminster Children’s Hospital and produced results as good as the world’s best. He was also a leader in clinical immunology and protein chemistry. He set up supra-regional protein reference laboratories, developed the first non-invasive cystic fibrosis test (it used meconium), and established reference levels of immunoglobulins. He also recorded the natural history of malignant myeloma.

    Hobbs was born in Aldershot, the third son of a soldier. His family eventually settled in his father’s home town of Plymouth, but he was evacuated to Penzance during the Blitz. He left Plymouth College at 16 with O levels and worked as a pathology laboratory assistant at Plymouth Hospital for two years. He did his national service in the medical corps, serving in Egypt and the UK. He saved his sergeant’s pay and put himself through Plymouth and Devonport Technical College, gaining his inter BSc—the university entrance qualification—in nine months and earning a state scholarship. He entered Middlesex Hospital …

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