Molecular medicine; the road to the better integration of the medical sciences in the twenty-first century.
The history of the evolution of medical research is characterized by a long period of division between the basic biological sciences and the health sciences, reflecting the seventeenth-century trends towards the experimental and the empirical. It was not until the middle of the twentieth century that, by their ability to straddle both worlds, the work of small groups of basic scientists in the U.S.A. and Europe led to closer integration between the medical sciences. This change in direction is well exemplified by the work of the Cambridge scientists Max Perutz, Vernon Ingram and Herman Lehmann, from 1950 onwards. Their research, and its later development by others, was to lay the basis for what became known as 'molecular medicine', and at the same time set the scene for a more integrated approach to medical research that continued into the new millennium.