Professor Mark Drayson

Mark Drayson leads the Birmingham Clinical Immunology Service (CIS), one of the largest diagnostic immunology services in the UK. The CIS provides a unique link between the University of Birmingham’s scientific strengths in immunology, and the clinical areas for application in clinical academia and NHS practice.

Professor of Clinical Diagnostics, University of Birmingham

Director, Clinical Immunology Service, College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham.


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Background and Research focus

Mark graduated from a medical degree from the University of Manchester in 1980 and completed a PhD there in Immunology in 1987. He was then recruited to the University of Birmingham from 1990 as a Clinical Lecturer in Immunology, and subsequently obtained Membership of the Royal College of Pathologists in 1993, and became a Fellow in 2001. He was promoted to Professor in 2011. Mark has been Director of the Clinical Immunology Service (CIS) at UoB, since 2000.  The CIS provides a crucial link between the University’s scientific expertise in immunology, and the clinical investigation and management of blood cancers, immunodeficiency and autoimmunity in the West Midlands. Performing over 500,000 immunodiagnostic tests per year for a population of 5 million, the CIS is ideally positioned for research and development, such as development of novel immunodiagnostic assays.

Mark’s research is focussed substantially on myeloma, and he provides central laboratory analysis for phase 3 UK trials in myeloma (MRC 6th – 11th trials, MERIT and TEAMM), and is chief investigator for two of these. The results will help shape world opinion on investigation and management of the disease. Mark is a member of national and international guidelines groups for diagnosis and management of both myeloma and MGUS. Specifically he is a Member of the MRC/NCRN Myeloma Working Groups and of the UK and UK/Nordic Myeloma Guidelines Group and MGUS Guidelines Group. A second, related focus is on development of immunodiagnostic tests. He played a key role in developing and demonstrating the utility of the first clinical test for serum immunoglobulin free light chains. This test was disseminated worldwide via a UoB spinout company Binding Site, and now sells 6 million tests a year across 90 countries. More recently, Mark has developed a second generation of the test that provides improved laboratory and point of care performance, and is being commercialized by a UoB spin out company Serascience. Finally, a third focus is on use of drug redeployment strategies as a route for development of novel therapies for haematological malignancies, an approach he is testing in clinical trials in the UK and Africa. Mark’s research programme is supported by major grants from Cancer Research UK, Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, the Medical Research Council, and the National Institute of Health Research.


Haematological malignancies; myeloma; immunodeficiency; autoimmunity; immunodiagnostic assays; serum immunoglobulin free light chain; drug redeployment; clinical trials.

Other activities

In addition to leading his own research group, Mark is a Non-executive Director for SeraScience Limited, a specialist cancer diagnostic company he helped found.


Turesson I, Kovalchik SA, Pfeiffer RM, Kristinsson SY, Goldin LR, Drayson MT, Landgren O. Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance and risk of lymphoid and myeloid malignancies: 728 cases followed up to 30 years in Sweden. Blood. 2014 Jan 16;123(3):338-45.

Campbell JP, Cobbold M, Wang Y, Goodall M, Bonney SL, Chamba A, Birtwistle J, Plant T, Afzal Z, Jefferis R, Drayson MT. Development of a highly-sensitive multi-plex assay using monoclonal antibodies for the simultaneous measurement of kappa and lambda immunoglobulin free light chains in serum and urine. J Immunol Methods. 2013 May 31;391(1-2):1-13.

Fermand JP, Bridoux F, Kyle RA, Kastritis E, Weiss BM, Cook MA, Drayson MT, Dispenzieri A, Leung N; International Kidney and Monoclonal Gammopathy Research Group. How I treat monoclonal gammopathy of renal significance (MGRS). Blood. 2013 Nov 21;122(22):3583-90.

Lodi A, Tiziani S, Khanim FL, Günther UL, Viant MR, Morgan GJ, Bunce CM, Drayson MT. Proton NMR-based metabolite analyses of archived serial paired serum  and urine samples from myeloma patients at different stages of disease activity identifies acetylcarnitine as a novel marker of active disease. PLoS One. 2013;8(2):e56422.

Khanim FL, Merrick BA, Giles HV, Jankute M, Jackson JB, Giles LJ, Birtwistle J, Bunce CM, Drayson MT. Redeployment-based drug screening identifies the anti-helminthic niclosamide as anti-myeloma therapy that also reduces free light  chain production. Blood Cancer J. 2011 Oct;1(10):e39.

Morgan GJ, Davies FE, Gregory WM, Cocks K, Bell SE, Szubert AJ, Navarro-Coy N, Drayson MT, Owen RG, Feyler S, Ashcroft AJ, Ross F, Byrne J, Roddie H, Rudin C, Cook G, Jackson GH, Child JA; National Cancer Research Institute Haematological Oncology Clinical Study Group. First-line treatment with zoledronic acid as compared with clodronic acid in multiple myeloma (MRC Myeloma IX): a randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 2010 Dec 11;376(9757):1989-99.

Mead GP, Drayson MT. Sensitivity of serum free light chain measurement of residual disease in multiple myeloma patients. Blood. 2009 Aug 20;114(8):1717.

Drayson M, Begum G, Basu S, Makkuni S, Dunn J, Barth N, Child JA. Effects of  paraprotein heavy and light chain types and free light chain load on survival in  myeloma: an analysis of patients receiving conventional-dose chemotherapy in Medical Research Council UK multiple myeloma trials. Blood. 2006 Sep 15;108(6):2013-9. Epub 2006 May 25. PubMed PMID: 16728700.

Lovell R, Dunn JA, Begum G, Barth NJ, Plant T, Moss PA, Drayson MT, Pratt G;  Working Party on Leukaemia in Adults of the National Cancer Research Institute Haematological Oncology Clinical Studies Group. Soluble syndecan-1 level at diagnosis is an independent prognostic factor in multiple myeloma and the extent of fall from diagnosis to plateau predicts for overall survival. Br J Haematol. 2005 Aug;130(4):542-8. PubMed PMID: 16098068.

Bradwell AR, Carr-Smith HD, Mead GP, Harvey TC, Drayson MT. Serum test for assessment of patients with Bence Jones myeloma. Lancet. 2003 Feb 8;361(9356):489-91. PubMed PMID: 12583950.