Warrington Yorke (1883 – 1943)
LSTM was among the first institutions in the world to recognise the importance of studying and understanding the phenomenon of drug resistance
One of the pioneers in this field was Professor Warrington Yorke who in 1914 took LSTM’s first Walter Myers Chair of Parasitology. In that same year he led LSTM’s 32nd and final expedition to Sierra Leone to study sleeping sickness. In 1921 Yorke conducted the first clinical trial of suramin against the disease followed by the first chemotherapy work in 1927.
This was followed in 1929 by the first in vitro cultivation of drug resistant blood parasites of African trypanosomes in order to understand the mode of action of new drugs. This led him to be elected as a fellow of the Royal Society in 1932.
In 1941 Yorke demonstrated acquired resistance in a malaria parasite (plasmodium knowlesi) to an antimalarial drug.
Resistance research continues today across LSTM and the LSTM Research Centre for Drugs and Diagnostics is developing and delivering novel diagnostics and therapies against a range of drug resistant pathogens.