Browse Fellows


www Lives

Biographical entry Bloom, Harris Julian Gaster (1923 - 1988)

MRCS 1947; FRCS by election 1985; MB BS London 1947; MD 1949; MRCP 1950; DMRT 1954; FRCR 1956; FRCP 1971; FACR 1972; FAAP 1981.

30 June 1923
21 December 1988
Pathologist and Radiotherapist


Julian Bloom was born in Sheffield on 30 June 1923 and moved to London at the age of seven where he was educated at the Fleet School, Kilburn, and the Regent Street Polytechnic. In 1942 he entered Middlesex Hospital Medical School and in 1946 was student house surgeon to Lord Webb-Johnson, Sir Eric Riches and Sir Brian Windeyer. He qualified in 1947 and after serving as house physician to Dr G E Beaumont was appointed assistant pathologist to the Bland-Sutton Institute. At this stage he started research on the natural history of breast cancer, its pathology and prognosis which led to a joint paper with W W Richardson in the British journal of cancer relating the grade of malignancy to prognosis in a study of 1,409 patients. He passed the London MD in 1949, and took the MRCP in the following year.

He joined the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1950 serving as a specialist in pathology at the military hospital in Oxford, attaining the rank of Major. His research work continued with a joint study on the early diagnosis of spinal tumours.

After demobilisation he became senior registrar at the Meyerstein Institute of Radiotherapy, working under Sir Brian Windeyer. He passed the DMRT in 1954 and the FRCR in 1956. He joined the department of radiotherapy at the Royal Marsden Hospital in 1958 at a time when high energy linear accelerators were becoming available and in the days when the treatment of malignant tumours by chemotherapy was being introduced. In addition to his appointment at the Royal Marsden Hospital he was consultant radiotherapist to St Peter's, St Paul's and St Philip's Hospitals and to the Institute of Urology, to St Mary Abbot's Hospital and to Queen Mary's Hospital for Children, Carshalton.

In addition he was visiting Professor to the Institute of Cancer Research, London and honorary consultant in radiotherapy to the neurosurgical department of St George's Hospital. He was also adviser to the developing cancer services in Israel.

His chief interest was the application of radiotherapy and high-dosage chemotherapy to the treatment of intracranial tumours and with the support of neurosurgeons from the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases, Atkinson Morley's Hospital and the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street he established a specialised neuro-oncology unit for both children and adults at the Royal Marsden Hospital with specialists in endocrinology, medicine, psychology and rehabilitation. In 1972 he was elected Chairman of the Brain Tumour Study Group of the International Society of Paediatric Oncology.

His capacity for clinical work was prodigious and he applied painstaking attention to detail. He spared no effort for his patients and out-patient clinics and ward rounds sometimes continued until midnight. Above all he displayed humanity and kindness to his patients and had a warm understanding of their problems.

Many honours were accorded to him including election to the honorary fellowship of the American College of Radiology, the American Academy of Paediatrics and the Belgian Radiotherapy Society. In 1985 he was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons.

He retired from his health service appointments in 1987 but continued his professional life as co-chairman of the Cromwell Centre for Radiotherapy and Oncology. He continued to work there until two weeks before his death on 21 December 1988, tragically from the disease which his life's work had been devoted to treating. To commemorate his 30 years on the staff in 1988 the principal lecture theatre in the Royal Marsden Hospital was named the "Julian Bloom Lecture Theatre" and an international conference was held in honour of his career.

He married Barbara Snowman on 1 March 1955 and there were two daughters and one son of the marriage. One daughter has qualified in medicine and is a general practitioner, another daughter is working as a paramedic in the United States and his son is a medical student at Middlesex Hospital.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Lancet 1989, 1, 171 with portrait; The Times 23 December 1988; Daily Telegraph 30 December 1988; The Independent 2 January 1989; Guardian 24 December 1988; Irish J med sci 1989, 25, 726].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England