Michael Peckham

Michael Peckham

Sir Michael Peckham is a British oncologist and artist. As a cancer physician he is best known for his contribution to the treatment of testicular cancer. His paintings were first exhibited in 1962 and he has since shown in numerous mixed and solo exhibitions [1].

He was born in Panteg,Gwent, read Natural Sciences at St Catharine's College, Cambridge and qualified as a doctor from UCL Medical School. He was called up for military service and spent two years as a captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps. He is married to Catherine Stevenson Peckham [2], daughter of Alexander King.


Medicine and Science

After working with Maurice Tubiana at the Institut Gustave Roussy in Paris on the cell biology of lymphoma, he joined the Institute of Cancer Research and Royal Marsden Hospital in London. He was appointed to a Chair in 1973 and built up a team that specialised in testicular cancer and Hodgkin’s lymphoma [3]. He founded the British Oncological Association in 1985 [4], co-founded the European Society of Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology in 1981 [5] and was a founder and first Chairman of the Federation of the European Cancer Societies (FECS) which has since evolved into ECCO – the European CanCer Organisation. He was Vice-Chair of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (now Cancer Research UK) from 1986 to 1991.

In 1986 he became Director of the British Postgraduate Medical Federation [6], a school of the University of London comprising seven postgraduate medical institutes. In 1991 he became the first Director of Research and Development for the National Health Service (NHS) and Department of Health [7], [8]. Through the new programme the Cochrane Collaboration was launched and the basis laid for the National Institute for Clinical Excellence [9], [10].

From 1997 to 2000 he was Director of the School of Public Policy at University College London. In 2000 he was appointed by the then Secretary of State for Education, David Blunkett, to chair the new National Educational Research Forum [11].

In 2000 he chaired the Foresight Panel “Healthcare in 2020” for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Office of Science and Technology [12].


Michael Peckham's paintings were first shown at Bangor University in 1962. This was followed by an exhibition with William Gear in 1964 at the Bear Lane Gallery, Oxford. During the 1980s and 1990s he exhibited his work at the Christopher Hull Gallery [13]. His solo exhibition at the Millinery Works Gallery opened on September 11 2001 [14]. He exhibited with Richard Demarco in Edinburgh and showed work in 2001 in the Traveling Exhibition “70 over 2000: the Road to Meikle Seggie”. He worked with Richard Demarco to develop an artistic event at the centre of the European Conference on Clinical Oncology (ECCO) at the South Bank in London in 1989. “Death, Life, Regeneration” included work by Helen Chadwick, Joseph Beuys and Paul Neagu [15]. The Cantata “Bavarian Gentians” commissioned for the occasion from Hugh Wood received its first performance conducted by Richard Hickox at this event.

The two aspects of his career came together when thirty five small drawings made in the clinical notes of his patients were shown in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 2004 under the title “Treatments” [16].


  • Knighted for services to medicine, 1995
  • Doctor honoris causa, Université de Franche-Compté Besançon, 1991
  • Hon DSc, Loughborough University of Technology, 1992
  • Doctor honoris causa, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, 1993
  • Foreign associate member, National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine Washington USA 1994
  • Honorary Fellow, University College London, 1995
  • Hon DSc, University of Exeter, 1996
  • Honorary Fellow St Catharine’s College Cambridge, 1998
  • Founding Fellow Academy of Medical Sciences, 1998
  • Hon DSc (Medicine), University of London (Institute of Cancer Research), 2007

External Links


  1. ^ Buckman, David. Dictionary of artists in Britain since 1945. Bristol: Art Dictionaries, 1998. Pressmark.
  2. ^ http://www.debretts.com/people/biographies/browse/p/9531/Catherine+Stevenson.aspx
  3. ^ Peckham, MJ; Barrett, A; Liew, KH; Horwich, A; Robinson, B; Dobbs, HJ; McElwain, TJ; Hendry, WF (1983). "The treatment of metastatic germ-cell testicular tumours with bleomycin, etoposide and cisplatin (BEP).". British Journal of Cancer 47: 613–619. PMID 6189504. 
  4. ^ http://www.rdfunding.org.uk/queries/ListCharityDetails.asp?CharityID=2191
  5. ^ http://www.cancerworld.org/Articles/Issues_44/Spotlight_on%A7%A7%A7/Thirty_years_on,_ESTRO_remains_focused_on_its_vision_for_a_cure.html
  6. ^ http://www.aim25.ac.uk/cgi-bin/vcdf/detail?coll_id=8572&inst_id=14
  7. ^ Brown, P. "An unlikely civil servant” New Scientist, 16 February 1991
  8. ^ Smith, R. Filling the lacuna between research and practice: an interview with Michael Peckham”. 1993 November 27; BMJ 307(6916): 1403–1407
  9. ^ Research and development for the National Health Service. M Peckham 1991, Lancet, 338, 367-371
  10. ^ Peckham,M.A Model for Health: Innovation and future of Healthcare, The Nuffield Trust, 2000
  11. ^ http://www.eep.ac.uk/nerf/index.html
  12. ^ http://ukpmc.ac.uk/articles/PMC1173516/reload=0;jsessionid=7D43354286D8D1CD5C9E70850BAEC8B2
  13. ^ http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/obituaries/article2079545.ece
  14. ^ http://www.millineryworks.co.uk/pages/artgal%20Peckham.htm
  15. ^ http://www.demarco-archive.ac.uk/richard_demarco_chronology.pdf
  16. ^ http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2004/jun/13/art

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