Thomas Platts-Mills is a doctor and immunologist who specialises in allergy research. He is best known for establishing the link between asthma and allergens in the home. In doing so, he brought greater understanding of the increase in the number of cases of chronic allergic asthma.
He discovered that the major allergen in chronic asthma is the dust mite, establishing the cause as inhalation of its faeces and developing a test for the allergen inside houses. He has also researched the allergic effects of pollen and domestic cats. He discovered the existence of a regional allergy to a bowel cancer treatment — the result of the presence of specific IgE antibodies in the local population.
Thomas’s work has provided the basis for improved management of allergic asthma. He has published more than 300 research papers during his career and served as President of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. He is the first allergist to be elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.