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 Immunodiagnostics, University of Birmingham

Director, Clinical Immunology Service, Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy, 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 focused 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. Mark has also 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 Medical Advisor to Abingdon Health a biodiagnostics company that in collaboration with the University of Birmingham has spun out companies including Serascience. He is a member of Trial Management Groups for UK myeloma trials (Myeloma 9 -14, OPTIMAL) as well as the NCRN Myeloma Trials Committee. He is Chief Investigator for the TEAMM myeloma trial for supportive care and early diagnosis. Mark is a representative of the Guidelines working Group of the UK Myeloma Forum on behalf of the British Committee for Standards in Haematology.



PubMed: 217 docs Scopus h-index 53; 231 docs; 11,998 citations

Heaney JLJ, Campbell JP, Iqbal G, Cairns D, Richter A, Child JA, Gregory W, Jackson G, Kaiser M, Owen R, Davies F, Morgan G, Dunn J, Drayson MT. Characterisation of immunoparesis in newly diagnosed myeloma and its impact on progression-free and overall survival in both old and recent myeloma trials.Leukemia. 2018 Jun 20. doi: 10.1038/s41375-018-0163-4. [Epub ahead of print]


Campbell JP, Heaney JLJ, Pandya S, Afzal Z, Kaiser M, Owen R, Child JA, Cairns DA, Gregory W, Morgan GJ, Jackson GH, Bunce CM, Drayson MT. Response comparison of multiple myeloma and monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance to the same anti-myeloma therapy: a retrospective cohort study. Lancet Haematol. 2017 Dec;4(12):e584-e594. doi: 10.1016/S2352-3026(17)30209-0. Epub 2017 Nov 13.                                                                                                               

Heaney JLJ, Campbell JP, Yadav P, Griffin AE, Shemar M, Pinney JH, Drayson MT. Multiple myeloma can be accurately diagnosed in acute kidney injury patients using a rapid serum free light chain test.BMC Nephrol. 2017 Jul 20;18(1):247. doi: 10.1186/s12882-017-0661-z.


Campbell JP, Heaney JLJ, Pandya S, Afzal Z, Kaiser M, Owen R, Child JA, Gregory W, Morgan GJ, Jackson GH, Bunce CM, Drayson MT. Active multiple myeloma suppresses and typically eliminates coexisting MGUS. Br J Cancer. 2017 Sep 5;117(6):835-839. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2017.229. Epub 2017 Jul 20.


Heaney JLJ, Campbell JP, Griffin AE, Birtwistle J, Shemar M, Child JA, Gregory WM, Cairns DA, Morgan G, Jackson G, Drayson MT. Diagnosis and monitoring for light chain only and oligosecretory myeloma using serum free light chain tests. Br J Haematol. 2017 Jun 1. doi: 10.1111/bjh.14753. [Epub ahead of print].


Long JE, Drayson MT, Taylor AE, Toellner KM, Lord JM, Phillips AC. Morning vaccination enhances antibody response over afternoon vaccination: A cluster-randomised trial. Vaccine. 2016 May 23;34(24):2679-85. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2016.04.032. Epub 2016 Apr 26.


Brioli A, Giles H, Pawlyn C, Campbell JP, Kaiser MF, Melchor L, Jackson GH, Gregory WM, Owen RG, Child JA, Davies FE, Cavo M, Morgan GJ, Drayson MT. Serum free immunoglobulin light chain evaluation as a marker of impact from intraclonal heterogeneity on myeloma outcome. Blood. 2014 May 29;123(22):3414-9. doi: 10.1182/blood-2013-12-542662. Epub 2014 Apr 14.


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. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0056422. Epub 2013 Feb 19.


Augustson BM, Begum G, Dunn JA, Barth NJ, Davies F, Morgan G, Behrens J, Smith A, Child JA, Drayson MT. Early mortality after diagnosis of multiple myeloma: analysis of patients entered onto the United kingdom Medical Research Council trials between 1980 and 2002–Medical Research Council Adult Leukaemia Working Party. J Clin Oncol. 2005 Dec 20;23(36):9219-26. Epub 2005 Nov 7.


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.