Peter Hillmen


Peter Hillmen leads the Experimental Haematology section in LICAP, and the Translational Haematology Research group. He is Professor of Experimental Haematology and Honorary Consultant Haematologist at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

Professor Hillmen qualified in Medicine at Leeds Medical School in 1985 and completed his general medical training in Leeds in 1988. He was a Haematology Registrar in Hammersmith Hospital, London between 1989 and 1990 before completing three years as a Wellcome Training Fellow based at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School (1991 to 1993) completing a PhD working on PNH under the supervision of Professor Lucio Luzzatto. He then moved back to Leeds as a Senior Registrar in Haematology, Yorkshire (1994 to 1996). He was appointed as a Consultant Haematologist Mid-Yorkshire Trust and Leeds General Infirmary in 1996 before moving to Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust in 2004. He was appointed as Professor of Experimental Haematology, University of Leeds in 2013.

Professor Hillmen has research interests in both paroxysmal nocturnal haemoglobinuria (PNH) and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL). Since 1990 he has continued to research into PNH that eventually led to the development of anti-complement therapy for PNH. He was the lead on the trials of eculizumab and now leads the National PNH Service based in Leeds and Kings. The National PNH service looks after over 300 patients with PNH and this provides a unique resource for continued research into the pathophysiology and therapy of PNH. Since 1995 Professor Hillmen has had an interest in understanding the pathophysiology of and in developing novel therapies for CLL. His group has pioneered the use of minimal residual disease assessment in CLL and he Chairs the NCRI CLL sub-group in the UK responsible for the development of UK CLL Clinical Trials. He initially studied chemo-immunotherapeutic approaches for CLL but recently the development of targeted small molecules, particularly of the B-cell receptor pathway and of apoptosis, has led to a dramatic change in the treatment of CLL. His research is now focussing on the mechanism of action of these targeted therapies in order to maximise their potential.


MB ChB (Leeds) 1985

Royal College of Physicians: Member 1988; Fellow 2003

PhD (London) 1995 Titled “The biochemical and cellular basis of paroxysmal nocturnal haemoglobinuria”.

Royal College of Pathologists: Member 1995; Fellow 2002


Paroxysmal Nocturnal Haemoglobinuria

I have maintained an active clinical practice and research interest in PNH since my move back to Leeds. I coordinate a national registry for PNH patients that has accrued over 500 patients with PNH to date. I manage many of these patients in my specialist clinic and review many more at diagnosis or when they develop problems. The Registry is proving to be an extremely useful resource for the investigation of the pathophysiology of PNH. We have obtained a large amount of flow cytometric data in all the haematopoietic lineages in this group of patients and in some patients over several years. I have a particular interest in the management of patients with PNH and the development of novel therapies for the disease. I was the Chief Investigator of a series of studies of eculizumab, a novel complement inhibitor, in PNH which ultimately led to its approval in 2007. I am the Chairman of the Global PNH Registry and of the International PNH Interest Group (IPIG). My group is also undertaking laboratory research into the pathophysiology of PNH.

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia

Over the last 15 years I have coordinated numerous Phase II and III trials of the monoclonal antibodies in the treatment of refractory chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and other lymphoproliferative disorders. I have developed an interest in the detection of minimal residual disease in CLL by flow cytometry and by molecular techniques. I have an active interest in the development of novel approaches in the treatment of lymphoproliferative disorders. I have Chaired the CLL sub-group of National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) since 2002 and have been a member of the NCRI Haematological Oncology Clinical Studies Group for several years. I am the Chief Investigator for several NCRI Trials in relapsed and refractory CLL and for two proposed Phase III trials for previously untreated patients with CLL. My research group has an interest in the biology of CLL and the associated monoclonal B-lymphocytosis.

Current and Previous Roles

2013- present Chair in Experimental Haematology

2005- present Consultant in Clinical Haematology, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Bexley Wing, St James’s University Hospital, Leeds

1996-2005 Consultant in Clinical Haematology, Pinderfields General Hospital, Wakefield and Leeds General Infirmary, Leeds.

1994-1996 Senior Registrar in Haematology, Rotation, Leeds, Yorkshire

1991-1993 Research Training Fellow, Department of Haematology, Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith Hospital, London

1989-1990 Registrar Rotation, Department of Haematology, Hammersmith Hospital, London

Professional Activities

Lead of the National Commissioning Group (NCG) Designated Centre for paroxysmal nocturnal haemoglobinuria (PNH)

Lead clinical consultant haematologist at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) and related disorders

Lead of Clinical Trials Team in Haematology which currently employs a team of 12 research nurses and other research staff

Chairman of the CLL Trials Sub-group of the NCRI and a member of the Haematological Oncology Clinical Study Group of the NCRI

Chair of the Executive Committee of the Global PNH Registry

Chairman of the International PNH Interest Group (I-PIG) which under my guidance has become a Registered Charity

Member of the Executive Board of the International Workshop in CLL

Member or Chair of several Data Safety Monitoring Boards (DSMB’s) for several international CLL trials

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Medical Research at St James's