Peter Dukor (1937 - 1995) and the CIA
ALAIN DE WECK
Peter Dukor, the son of a well-known psychiatrist in Basle (Switzerland), was educated in Basle, where he obtained his M.D. degree in 1961. He became soon acquainted with medical and immunological research, working with J.F.A.P. Miller on the role of the thymus in the early 1960s at the Chester Beatty Institute in London. Soon thereafter, he entered the division of biological research at Ciba-Geigy in Basle, where he worked for almost 20 years. He managed the rather seldom feat to become on the one hand an effective industrial research manager, on the other hand a scientist in his own right, with a broad range of interests and a keen awareness of the future being shaped around him. He became widely known in international allergy and immunology academic circles, not only for his own personal work published in the best journals, but also for his ability to perceive new ideas, to foster young people and to attract and shape many collaborative projects.
In 1987, Peter Dukor became director of the SANDOZ Research Institute in Vienna, to which he soon gave unforgettable impulses. On the one hand, he developed strong ties with and gave hospitality to several academic groups from the Universities of Vienna and Budapest; on the other hand, he initiated a number of successful scientific and drug development ventures, shaping in part the activities of the SANDOZ corporation up to the end of this century. He was unexpectedly taken away, despite a most courageous fight, within a short year. The relation of Peter with the CIA started quite early in his career, since he first attended a CIA symposium in 1967. From that time developed our friendship and also his lifelong friendship with Paul Kallós, the founder of the CIA. It is in fact with Paul Kallós that he coined the term "pseudo-allergy" to designate those untoward reactions to drugs and additives which do not rest on a specific immunological mechanism. Pseudo-allergies also be-came the title of a series of still classical monographs.
In 1974, Peter Dukor became "executive secretary" of the CIA, a hidden name for "treasurer", as successor of A. Cerletti, the former director of medical research of SANDOZ. The tradition to have a leading manager of the pharmaceutical industry as treasurer of the CIA had started: it was indeed quite useful since the financial resources of the CIA in those days were quite limited. Membership fee amounted to 20 Swiss francs per year and only a token registration fee was requested from members. The industry was not at the time lavishingly supporting scientific meetings and invited speakers were usually receiving only a token fee. Nevertheless, bills had to be paid, and when the CIA account was empty, Peter was always confident and resourceful, sometimes of his own pocket. For 14 years, Peter and myself, as executive and honorary secretaries respectively, were the operating pillars of the CIA, which also developed during that time from a European and slightly British-shaded elderly club into a truly international society, gathering the best research minds in the field. Even after relinquishing his duties, Peter remained very fond of the CIA and mostly attended the meetings despite increased and Broader responsibilities going far beyond allergy; the CIA was always for him the intellectual and sentimental family where he was feeling most at ease. In that sense, Peter Dukor has certainly been one of the most remarkable members of the CIA during the past 20 years.