Pro­fes­sor Martin Gore

On­col­o­gist who treated Jade Goody and was a world ex­pert on melanoma, re­nal and ovar­ian can­cer

The Daily Telegraph - - Obituaries -

PRO­FES­SOR MARTIN GORE, who has died sud­denly after a rou­tine yel­low fever jab aged 67, was Med­i­cal Di­rec­tor of the Royal Mars­den Hos­pi­tal and Pro­fes­sor of Can­cer Medicine at the In­sti­tute of Can­cer Re­search.

An on­col­o­gist at the Royal Mars­den for more than 35 years, he was known in­ter­na­tion­ally for his work on melanoma, and ovar­ian and re­nal can­cers. His re­search in­ter­ests in­volved the de­vel­op­ment of cut­ting-edge ther­a­peu­tics us­ing the lat­est sci­en­tific ad­vances in un­der­stand­ing the molec­u­lar ba­sis of can­cer.

These in­cluded im­munother­apy (in which the body’s own im­mune re­sponse is har­nessed to tar­get and de­stroy can­cer cells); gene ther­apy (in which ge­netic ma­te­rial is in­serted into can­cer cells by a vec­tor, typ­i­cally a virus, in or­der to re­place tu­mour-sup­press­ing genes, make the can­cer cells more sus­cep­ti­ble to chemo­ther­apy, or make them self-de­struct); and tar­geted agents (drugs which block the growth of can­cer cells by in­ter­fer­ing with spe­cific tar­geted mol­e­cules needed for car­cino­gen­e­sis and tu­mour growth).

When in 2015 Gore was pre­sented with the Royal Mars­den’s Life­time Achieve­ment Award by the Duke of Cam­bridge, the duke praised his “in­fec­tious en­thu­si­asm and pas­sion for his work, and his ob­vi­ous com­pas­sion and kind­ness for his pa­tients, their fam­ily and friends”.

His pa­tients in­cluded the for­mer Big Brother star, Jade Goody, who was di­ag­nosed with ad­vanced cer­vi­cal can­cer aged 26 in 2008. After the can­cer spread to other or­gans, Gore put her on a two-month course of topote­can, a new drug de­vel­oped in the US and be­ing tested in the UK, which was claimed to have a one-in-four suc­cess rate in shrink­ing tu­mours.

After her death in 2009, he joined other can­cer spe­cial­ists in call­ing for the cer­vi­cal can­cer screen­ing age in Eng­land to be low­ered from 25 to 20.

Martin Eric Gore was born on Fe­bru­ary 18 1951 and ed­u­cated at Brad­field Col­lege, Berk­shire, be­fore go­ing on to med­i­cal train­ing at St Bartholomew’s Med­i­cal Col­lege, qual­i­fy­ing in 1974 and sub­se­quently tak­ing a PHD for work on breast can­cer.

He first worked at the Royal Mars­den in 1978 as a se­nior house of­fi­cer un­der Eve Wilt­shaw. After three years in the early 1980s as a clin­i­cal sci­en­tist at the Lud­wig In­sti­tute of Can­cer Re­search, he re­turned to the hos­pi­tal in 1984 as a lec­turer in medicine be­fore be­com­ing a con­sul­tant spe­cial­is­ing in ovar­ian can­cer, re­nal cell car­ci­noma and melanoma in 1988.

The same year he was ap­pointed se­nior lec­turer (and from 2002 pro­fes­sor) at the In­sti­tute of Can­cer Re­search.

From 2000 Gore was di­vi­sional med­i­cal di­rec­tor of rare can­cers at the Royal Mars­den, and from 1996 he chaired the com­mit­tee for clin­i­cal re­search at the hos­pi­tal and the In­sti­tute of Can­cer Re­search. In 2006 he was ap­pointed med­i­cal di­rec­tor of the Royal Mars­den fol­low­ing the re­tire­ment of Pro­fes­sor Janet Hus­band. He stepped down from the role in 2016.

Gore was a for­mer pupil of Dr Mau­rice Pap­p­worth, who caused a sen­sa­tion in 1967 (and a fu­ri­ous re­ac­tion in the med­i­cal es­tab­lish­ment) with his book Hu­man Guinea Pigs, which shed light on un­eth­i­cal ex­per­i­ments that were be­ing con­ducted on pa­tients, in­clud­ing chil­dren and in­mates of men­tal in­sti­tu­tions, with­out their full knowl­edge.

Gore wrote the in­tro­duc­tion to The Whis­tle-blower, the book about her fa­ther by Pap­p­worth’s daugh­ter, Dr Joanna Sel­don, and was closely in­volved in the field of med­i­cal ethics as chair­man, from 2006 to 2012, of the Depart­ment of Health’s Gene Ther­apy Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee, and as se­nior in­ves­ti­ga­tor, from 2008 to 2011, of the Na­tional In­sti­tute for Health Re­search.

In 2013 he led an in­quiry into the treat­ment of Al­ice Ma­son, a two-year-old who had un­der­gone suc­cess­ful treat­ment for a brain tu­mour but died two months later after de­vel­op­ing fluid on the brain. Gore found more than a dozen fail­ings by med­i­cal staff both at the Royal Mars­den and at Kingston Hos­pi­tal in Sur­rey.

As well as the Royal Mars­den’s Life­time Achieve­ment award, in 2014 Gore – who listed his hob­bies in Who’s Who as “ag­o­nis­ing over Ful­ham FC” – be­came the first non-amer­i­can doc­tor to de­liver the Eu­gene P Schon­feld Me­mo­rial Lec­ture. In 2016 he was ap­pointed CBE for ser­vices to on­col­ogy.

On Jan­uary 10, shortly after hav­ing an in­jec­tion against yel­low fever (rec­om­mended to any­one vis­it­ing Sub-sa­ha­ran Africa, South and Cen­tral Amer­ica and the Caribbean), Gore suf­fered to­tal or­gan fail­ure and died.

In 1979 he mar­ried Pauline Wren, who sur­vives him with their three sons and one daugh­ter.

Pro­fes­sor Martin Gore, born Fe­bru­ary 18 1951, died Jan­uary 10 2019

Martin Gore: known for his in­fec­tious en­thu­si­asm and kind­ness to pa­tients

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