Pollock JI (2003). Clifford Wilson (1906-1997) and Martin Pollock (1914-1999).

© Jon Pollock, Faculty of Health and Social Care, University of the West of England, Bristol, Glenside Campus, Blackberry Hill, Stapleton, Bristol BS16 1DD. E-mail: jon.pollock@uwe.ac.uk

Cite as: Pollock JI (2003). Clifford Wilson (1906-1997) and Martin Pollock (1914-1999). JLL Bulletin: Commentaries on the history of treatment evaluation (https://www.jameslindlibrary.org/articles/biographical-information-on-clifford-wilson-1906-1997-and-martin-pollock-1914-1999/)


Clifford Wilson

Clifford Wilson

Clifford Wilson DM, MRCP studied medicine at Oxford and the London Hospital. His work on dietary therapies was undertaken while he was in the Medical Research Section of the Royal Army Medical Corps studying infectious hepatitis. Wilson went on to become secretary of the MRC Streptomycin Clinical Trials (non-TB conditions) Committee, Professor of Medicine (University of London) and Director of the Medical Unit at The London Hospital. His clinical work centred on understanding kidney disease and its relation to hypertension and diabetes. He was committed to academic medicine and made a major contribution by supporting the placement of medical schools firmly within the university environment.


Martin Pollock

Martin Pollock MB,BChir, FRS studied medicine at Cambridge and University College Hospital London. At the request of the Ministry of Health and the War Office, he joined the MRC Jaundice Research Unit. This had been formed in 1943 because infectious hepatitis had become a serious problem among British and American troops. After end of the World War II Pollock retrained in bacterial chemistry and began to study penicillin resistance, initially as a clinical problem and later (with Jacques Monod, amongst others) as a model for enzyme adaptation and gene control. Between 1947 and 1965 Pollock worked at the National Institute for Medical Research in Mill Hill. He then moved to Edinburgh, where (with Bill Hayes) he founded the first teaching department of Molecular Biology in Britain in 1967. As noted in the Royal Society Memoir about Martin Pollock (Ambler and Murray 2002), although the work on therapeutic trials of methionine and cysteine for serum hepatitis (now known as Hepatitis B) did not progress into routine use, interest in possible therapeutic applications of cysteine derivatives has been revived quite recently in the discovery that N-acetyl-L-cysteine (an emergency treatment for paracetamol poisoning) inhibits replication of the Hepatitis B virus and, possibly, HIV (Weiss et al. 1996).

I have not been able to trace AD Harris, the third co-author of the report of the early factorial trial celebrated on the James Lind Library. I would be grateful for help from any reader who can provide details.


Ambler R, Murray K (2002). Martin Pollock 1914-1999. Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 48:357-373.

Weiss L, Hildt E, Hofschneider PH (1996). Anti-hepatitis B virus activity of N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC): new aspects of a well-established drug. Antiviral Research 32:43-53.