There are millions of allergy sufferers today who have reason to pay tribute to the work of Dr Alfred William “Bill” Frankland, the “grandfather” of clinical allergy, who has died at the age of 108. He was respected world-wide for his contributions to allergy at a time when this was little understood and particularly for his pioneering work on allergen specific immunotherapy which improved the quality of life of patients with severe hay fever and other allergic diseases. His remarkable and distinguished career in allergy began after World War II, when he returned to work at St Mary’s Hospital, London, having survived as a prisoner of the Japanese. He ran the immunotherapy clinic here, giving desensitizing injections to thousands of patients. He undertook the first scientific trial of grass pollen injections for hay fever- to show how effective they are. He also demonstrated that immunization with bacteria did not prevent asthma exacerbations. He inspired others to recognise and improve management across the whole spectrum of allergies and was instrumental in the setting up of The British Society for Allergy & Clinical Immunology (BSACI), the professional and academic society that represents the specialty of allergy at all levels. His work also greatly influenced the efforts of patient support groups to obtain greater recognition of allergy sufferers’ needs. To these he offered kindness and understanding, among them the earliest such charity Action Against Allergy, founded in 1978, who listened to his advice and guidance for the future His achievements over 70 years will remain, for many, an inspiration in this field for decades to come.
(Photo credit to Fiona Rayner BSACI)