Medical and Pediatric Oncology 34:85–86 (2000) OBITUARY Arthur Edward Jones, MD, FRCP, FRCS, FRCR, DMRT, HonFACR P.N. Plowman, MA, MD, FRCP, FRCR* With the death of Arthur Jones at age 80, the world of radiotherapy has lost one of the true pioneers and great names of the early years of megavoltage radiotherapy. In 1912, Neville Finzi became director of radiotherapy at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital. Finzi was a pioneer of radium therapy and he foresaw advantages if the gamma rays of radium could be simulated by X radiation of comparable energy, the implication of this of course being megavoltage radiotherapy. In December, 1933, Finzi delivered the Mackenzie-Davidson lecture to the British Institute of Radiology on “Xray and radium therapy in the future.” He came down firmly in favour of X radiation of wavelengths similar to that of radium: “. . . it seems likely that the future will depend on the ability of Fig. 1. Professor Arthur E. Jones. © 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc. the manufacturers to construct a tube working at 1–1.2 million volts, and if the earth tube of the Metropolitan Vikers can be constructed to work up to these voltages, it seems to possess insuperable advantages.” This lecture stimulated Mrs. Meyer Sassoon to underwrite the costs of developing and installing such a machine and led to the opening of the megavoltage unit at St. Bartholomew’s (Bart’s) Hosp. This was on December 10, 1936, in the presence of a distinguished assembly including Lord Rutherford . The feasibility of megavoltage radiotherapy had also been researched in the United States . The Lauritsen multisection tube at Pasadena had achieved 1 MV and the Coolidge cascade tube at New York Memorial Hospital had achieved 700 KV, but neither was in routine clinical use. However, when the Metropolitan Vickers 1 MV machine opened at Bart’s in 1936, it was the first megavoltage unit in day-to-day clinical use, giving almost uninterrupted service from 1937 onwards. However, no sooner had the 1 MV machine become smoothly operational than the second World War broke out and Bart’s, at the centre of the city of London, was in a vulnerable location. The most memorable incident during the war was when a 750 pound bomb fell 10 yards from the department but failed to explode, and megavoltage radiotherapy practice continued as usual! Jones’ interest in central nervous system tolerance to radiotherapy and optimal management of brain/spinal tumours derived from his training. Born February 1, 1919, in Denbighshire, Wales, he was educated at Grove Park School, Wrexham, before St. Bartholomew’s Medical College 1937–1943. There, he was awarded three scholarships, an exhibition, and many prizes. He served in the army during the war and became the specialist neurologist in charge of the army’s Hamburg unit, with a particular knowledge of head injury care, having been trained during his period of service by the noted neurologist Sir Charles Symonds. After the war, Arthur Jones rose rapidly through the ranks at Bart’s, where radiotherapy was the pioneering department. He was appointed Consultant at the age of only 30 and Deputy Director in 1950 at the age of 41. His meticulous care in planning and execution of megavolt*Department of Radiotherapy, St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, West Smithfield, London, United Kingdom 86 Plowman age radiotherapy made him an international authority during this time. There was no diminution in the vigour with which Jones led radiotherapy at Bart’s for some 30 years, consolidating and extending safe, curative, megavoltage radiotherapy. His 1948 publication on “Clinical reactions and injuries in supervoltage therapy” is noteworthy in this regard . His papers on radiotherapy for pituitary tumours and thyroid eye disease are perhaps his most famous contributions, although his original description of Lhermitte’s sign occurring as a subacute reaction to cervical spine radiotherapy is typical of his careful attention to detail in radiotherapy practice . National and international recognition of his exceptional merits followed. In 1960 he became Hunterian Professor at the Royal College of Surgeons—a rare honour for a physician—and in 1965 a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians; in 1963 he won the Roentgen Prize of the British Institute of Radiology, and in 1978 the Royal College of Radiologists’ Glyn Evans medal. He became Professor of Radiotherapy in 1974, having meanwhile been named Director of the Radiotherapy Department at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in 1972. Important academic appointments were numerous. Dean of St. Bartholomew’s Medical College (1968), Chairman of the Cancer Research Committee (1971– 1984), Vice President of the Royal College of Radiologists (1967), a member of the Council of the Royal College of Surgeons (1973–1978), and Chairman of the examining board in radiotherapy (1971–1976) give some idea of the scope of these commitments. In the latter part of his career, Jones was under intense pressure as Chairman of the MRC Committee on Neutron Therapy (1980– 1987). Had neutrons proved clinically useful, the cost implications for the project would have been huge, and vested interests lobbied furiously. Jones maintained his objectivity and, with his now incomparable experience of ortho- and megavoltage radiation, chaired the committee superbly. He was co-opted by the equivalent American Committee largely for these qualities. Arthur Jones trained many of the current leading radiotherapists in the United Kingdom. A registrar early in his career might well be called down to a treatment machine by Professor Jones, only to find his boss on his hands and knees looking up at the light field and the shield shadows around the orbits and base of skull in a prone patient receiving craniospinal radiotherapy. One past trainee recalls a telephone call to him from London Airport by Jones, who was off to a Neutron Therapy Committee meeting in the United States, advising him to cut by one fraction the radiotherapy prescription to a patient with an eyelid epithelioma. These examples would be typical of the attention to detail for which Jones was famous. Fig. 2. Professor Jones conducting his final ward round at St. Bartholomew’s in 1984. Arthur Jones was also a very private man, eventually wanting no retirement party nor hospital remembrance service. When providing me with his formidable C.V., Carline, his wife, wrote, “It says it all, but to me he was just Arthur.” We send his family our deepest sympathy. We have lost a true leader. REFERENCES 1. Jones AE. The development of megavoltage x-ray therapy at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital. In: Plowman PN, Harnett AN, editors. Megavoltage radiotherapy. Br J Radiol 1998;Suppl. 22, p 3–10. 2. Schulz M. The supervoltage story. Am J Roentgenol 1975;124: 541–559. 3. Jones AE. Clinical reactions and injuries in supervoltage therapy. Proc R Soc Med 1948;41:703. 4. Jones AE. Transient radiation myelopathy (with reference of Lhermitte’s sign of electrical paraesthesia). Br J Radiol 1964;37: 727.