Richard Peto

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Sir Richard Peto

Born (1943-05-14) 14 May 1943 (age 75) [1]
Nationality United Kingdom
Education Taunton's School
Alma mater University of Cambridge (BA)
Imperial College London (MSc) [1]
Known for
Scientific career
FieldsMedical Statistics, Clinical Trials, Epidemiology of Smoking.
Institutions University of Oxford
Green Templeton College, Oxford
Influences Richard Doll

Sir Richard Peto FRS (born 14 May 1943) [1] is Professor of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology at the University of Oxford, England. [4] [5] [6]

Fellow of the Royal Society Elected Fellow of the Royal Society, including Honorary, Foreign and Royal Fellows

Fellowship of the Royal Society is an award granted to individuals that the Royal Society of London judges to have made a 'substantial contribution to the improvement of natural knowledge, including mathematics, engineering science and medical science'.

Statistics study of the collection, organization, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data

Statistics is a branch of mathematics dealing with data collection, organization, analysis, interpretation and presentation. In applying statistics to, for example, a scientific, industrial, or social problem, it is conventional to begin with a statistical population or a statistical model process to be studied. Populations can be diverse topics such as "all people living in a country" or "every atom composing a crystal". Statistics deals with every aspect of data, including the planning of data collection in terms of the design of surveys and experiments. See glossary of probability and statistics.

Epidemiology is the study and analysis of the distribution and determinants of health and disease conditions in defined populations.



He attended Taunton's School in Southampton and subsequently studied the Natural Sciences Tripos at Queens' College, Cambridge [ when? ] followed by a Master of Science degree in Statistics at Imperial College London. [1] [ when? ]

Southampton City and unitary authority area in England

Southampton is the largest city in the ceremonial county of Hampshire, England. It is 70 miles (110 km) south-west of London and 15 miles (24 km) west north-west of Portsmouth. Southampton is a major port and the closest city to the New Forest. It lies at the northernmost point of Southampton Water at the confluence of the Rivers Test and Itchen, with the River Hamble joining to the south of the urban area. The city, which is a unitary authority, has an estimated population of 253,651. The city's name is sometimes abbreviated in writing to "So'ton" or "Soton", and a resident of Southampton is called a Sotonian.

The Natural Sciences Tripos (NST) is the framework within which most of the science at the University of Cambridge is taught. The tripos includes a wide range of Natural Sciences from physical sciences to biology which are taught alongside the history and philosophy of science. The tripos covers several courses which form the University of Cambridge system of Tripos. It is known for its broad range of study in the first year, in which students cannot study just one discipline, but instead must choose three courses in different areas of the natural sciences and one in mathematics. As is traditional at Cambridge, the degree awarded after Part II is a Bachelor of Arts (BA). A Master of Science degree (MSci) is available to those who take the optional Part III. It was started in the 19th Century.

Queens College, Cambridge college of the University of Cambridge

Queens' College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England. Queens' is one of the oldest and the largest colleges of the university, founded in 1448 by Margaret of Anjou, and has some of the most recognisable buildings in Cambridge. The college spans both sides of the river Cam, colloquially referred to as the "light side" and the "dark side", with the Mathematical Bridge connecting the two.

Career and research

His career has included collaborations with Richard Doll beginning at the Medical Research Council Statistical Research Unit in London. He set up the Clinical Trial Service Unit (CTSU) in Oxford in 1975 and is currently co-director. Peto's paradox is named after him.

Richard Doll British physiologist

Sir William Richard Shaboe Doll was a British physician who became an epidemiologist in the mid-20th century and made important contributions to that discipline. He was a pioneer in research linking smoking to health problems. With Ernst Wynder, Bradford Hill and Evarts Graham, he was credited with being the first to prove that smoking caused lung cancer and increased the risk of heart disease. He also carried out pioneering work on the relationship between radiation and leukemia as well as that between asbestos and lung cancer, and alcohol and breast cancer. On 28 June 2012 he was the subject of a series on Radio Four called The New Elizabethans, a programme broadcast to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, dealing with 60 public figures from her reign.

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

Clinical Trial Service Unit

The Clinical Trial Service Unit (CTSU) is a medical research institute within the Nuffield Department of Population Health at Oxford University. It primarily conducts large scale clinical trials and epidemiological studies of chronic diseases, especially cancer and vascular conditions. It is located in the Richard Doll Building (RDB) on the Old Road Campus, Oxford.

Awards and honours

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1989 for his contributions to the development of meta-analysis. He is a leading expert on deaths related to tobacco use. "When Sir Richard Peto began work with the late Richard Doll fifty years ago, the UK had the worst death rates from smoking in the world. Smoking was the cause of more than half of all premature deaths of British men." [7] He was knighted for his services to epidemiology and to cancer prevention in 1999, and he received an honorary Doctor of Medical Sciences degree from Yale University in 2011. [8] [9]

Meta-analysis statistical method that summarizes data from multiple sources

A meta-analysis is a statistical analysis that combines the results of multiple scientific studies.

Tobacco agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana

Tobacco is a product prepared from the leaves of the tobacco plant by curing them. The plant is part of the genus Nicotiana and of the Solanaceae (nightshade) family. While more than 70 species of tobacco are known, the chief commercial crop is N. tabacum. The more potent variant N. rustica is also used around the world.

Yale University private research university in New Haven, Connecticut, United States

Yale University is a private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701, it is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine Colonial Colleges chartered before the American Revolution.

Personal life

His brother Julian Peto, with whom he has published work in mathematical statistics (e.g. on the logrank test), is also a distinguished epidemiologist. His family runs a Thai restaurant in the Covered Market, Oxford, of whose parent company he is a director. [10]

Julian Peto is an English statistician and cancer epidemiologist. He is Cancer Research UK Chair of Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Institute of Cancer Research. Before he took up his current post in 1983 he worked as a research scientist under Sir Richard Doll at the University of Oxford.

The logrank test, or log-rank test, is a hypothesis test to compare the survival distributions of two samples. It is a nonparametric test and appropriate to use when the data are right skewed and censored. It is widely used in clinical trials to establish the efficacy of a new treatment in comparison with a control treatment when the measurement is the time to event. The test is sometimes called the Mantel–Cox test, named after Nathan Mantel and David Cox. The logrank test can also be viewed as a time-stratified Cochran–Mantel–Haenszel test.

Thai cuisine national cuisine of Thailand

Thai cuisine is the national cuisine of Thailand.

Related Research Articles

Coronary artery disease artery disease characterized by plaque building up along the inner walls of the arteries of the heart resulting in a narrowing of the arteries and a reduced blood supply to the cardiac muscles

Coronary artery disease (CAD), also known as ischemic heart disease (IHD), involves the reduction of blood flow to the heart muscle due to buildup of plaque in the arteries of the heart. It is the most common of the cardiovascular diseases. Types include stable angina, unstable angina, myocardial infarction, and sudden cardiac death. A common symptom is chest pain or discomfort which may travel into the shoulder, arm, back, neck, or jaw. Occasionally it may feel like heartburn. Usually symptoms occur with exercise or emotional stress, last less than a few minutes, and improve with rest. Shortness of breath may also occur and sometimes no symptoms are present. In many cases, the first sign is a heart attack. Other complications include heart failure or an abnormal heartbeat.

Randomized controlled trial experimental method designed to reduce bias

A randomized controlled trial is a type of scientific experiment which aims to reduce bias when testing a new treatment. The people participating in the trial are randomly allocated to either the group receiving the treatment under investigation or to a group receiving standard treatment as the control. Randomization minimises selection bias and the different comparison groups allow the researchers to determine any effects of the treatment when compared with the no treatment (control) group, while other variables are kept constant. The RCT is often considered the gold standard for a clinical trial. RCTs are often used to test the efficacy or effectiveness of various types of medical intervention and may provide information about adverse effects, such as drug reactions. Random assignment of intervention is done after subjects have been assessed for eligibility and recruited, but before the intervention to be studied begins.

<i>The BMJ</i> peer-reviewed medical journal

The BMJ is a weekly peer-reviewed medical journal. It is one of the world's oldest general medical journals. Originally called the British Medical Journal, the title was officially shortened to BMJ in 1988, and then changed to The BMJ in 2014. The journal is published by the global knowledge provider BMJ, a wholly owned subsidiary of the British Medical Association. The editor in chief of The BMJ is Fiona Godlee, who was appointed in February 2005.

The Heart Protection Study was a large randomized controlled trial run by the Clinical Trial Service Unit, and funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the British Heart Foundation (BHF) in the United Kingdom. It studied the use of statin medication and vitamin supplementation in patients who are at risk of cardiovascular disease.

The British Doctors' Study was a prospective cohort study which ran from 1951 to 2001, and in 1956 provided convincing statistical proof that tobacco smoking increased the risk of lung cancer.

Case–control study

A case–control study is a type of observational study in which two existing groups differing in outcome are identified and compared on the basis of some supposed causal attribute. Case–control studies are often used to identify factors that may contribute to a medical condition by comparing subjects who have that condition/disease with patients who do not have the condition/disease but are otherwise similar. They require fewer resources but provide less evidence for causal inference than a randomized controlled trial. We only get odds ratio from a case–control study which is an inferior measure of strength of association as compared to relative risk.

Austin Bradford Hill English epidemiologist and statistician

Sir Austin Bradford Hill was an English epidemiologist and statistician, pioneered the randomized clinical trial and, together with Richard Doll, demonstrated the connection between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. Hill is widely known for pioneering the "Bradford Hill" criteria for determining a causal association.

Derek Summerfield is an honorary senior lecturer at London's Institute of Psychiatry and a member of the Executive Committee of Transcultural Special Interest Group at the Royal College of Psychiatry. He is also an Honorary Fellow of the Egyptian Psychiatric Association. He has published around 150 papers and has made other contributions in medical and social sciences literature.

Neck pain common medical problem

Neck pain is a common problem, with two-thirds of the population having neck pain at some point in their lives.

Sir Rory Edwards Collins FMedSci FRS is a British physician who is Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at the Clinical Trial Service Unit within the University of Oxford, the head of the Nuffield Department of Population Health and a Fellow of Green Templeton College, Oxford. His work has been in the establishment of large-scale epidemiological studies of the causes, prevention and treatment of heart attacks, other vascular disease, and cancer, while also being closely involved in developing approaches to the combination of results from related studies ("meta-analyses").

Dame Valerie Beral AC DBE FRS FRCOG FMedSci is an Australian-born British epidemiologist, academic and a preeminent specialist in breast cancer epidemiology. She is Professor of Epidemiology, a Fellow of Green Templeton College, Oxford and has been the Head of the Cancer Epidemiology Unit at the University of Oxford and Cancer Research UK since 1989.

The Goulstonian Lectures are an annual lecture series given on behalf of the Royal College of Physicians in London. They began in 1639. The lectures are named for Theodore Goulston, who founded them with a bequest. By his will, dated 26 April 1632, he left £200 to the College of Physicians of London to found a lectureship, to be held in each year by one of the four youngest doctors of the college. These lectures were annually delivered from 1639, and have continued for more than three centuries. Up to the end of the 19th century, the spelling Gulstonian was often used. In many cases the lectures have been published.

The Lumleian Lectures are a series of annual lectures started in 1582 by the Royal College of Physicians of London and currently run by the Lumleian Trust. The name commemorates John Lumley, 1st Baron Lumley, who with Richard Caldwell of the College endowed the lectures, initially confined to surgery, but now on general medicine. William Harvey did not announce his work on the circulation of the blood in the Lumleian Lecture for 1616 although he had some partial notes on the heart and blood which led to the discovery of the circulation ten years later. By that time ambitious plans for a full anatomy course based on weekly lectures had been scaled back to a lecture three times a year.

The Haybittle–Peto boundary is a rule for deciding when to stop a clinical trial prematurely. It is named for John Haybittle and Richard Peto.

The Bradshaw Lectures are prestigious lectureships given at the invitation of the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

Abdullah Baqui Public health scientist

Abdullah H. Baqui is a public health scientist who confirmed the effectiveness of simple but effective strategies to reduce preventable newborn deaths.

The Million Death Study (MDS) is an ongoing human premature mortality study conducted in India. It began in 1998 and is still ongoing. Among a sample size of 14 million Indians, approximately 1 million deaths are assigned medical causes through the Verbal Autopsy method to determine disease patterns and direct public health policy. The principal investigator of the study is Dr. Prabhat Jha, director of the Centre for Global Health Research and professor of epidemiology at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Canada.

Susan Ann Jebb is a nutrition scientist, and the Professor of Diet and Population Health at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences at the University of Oxford. She is the UK Government's advisor on obesity in the United Kingdom.

Evidence-based research (EBR) is "the use of prior research in a systematic and transparent way to inform a new study so that it is answering questions that matter in a valid, efficient and accessible manner". According to EBR, any new study should be informed by systematically examining existing evidence to determine the study's need, design, and methods. In addition, results of a study should be placed in context by incorporating them in a systematic review of similar earlier studies.


  1. 1 2 3 4 Anon (2017). Peto, Sir Richard. Who's Who (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.30686. Closed Access logo alternative.svg (subscription required)
  2. Louis-Jeantet Prize
  3. Knottnerus, J. A. (2008). "The Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for Medicine 2008 awarded to Sir Richard Peto". Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde. 152 (41): 2216–2218. PMID   19009807.
  4. Mann, C. (1990). "Richard Peto: Statistician with a Mission". Science. 249 (4968): 479. doi:10.1126/science.249.4968.479. PMID   17735279 . Retrieved 2012-08-07.
  5. Royal Society citation
  6. BBC interview with Richard Peto
  8. "Sir Richard Peto". University of Oxford. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  9. "Yale University: Honorary Degrees". USA: Yale University. Archived from the original on 21 May 2015. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  10. "Sasi's Thai". Find The Company. UK. Retrieved 24 May 2015.

Selected publications

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