World Journal of Surgery

, Volume 24, Issue 7, pp 815–818

Landmarks in the Development of Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation

  • E. Donnall Thomas


The field of bone marrow transplantation has evolved over a period of 50 years. Reports of beneficial treatment of murine leukemia by irradiation and injection of marrow cells from another mouse stimulated interest in attempting to use these techniques to treat patients with leukemia. The first few bold attempts at human application were generally met with a total lack of success except for a few transplants involving identical twins. Understanding the HLA system led to the ability to select compatible sibling donors. The first successful long-term survivors were reported at the end of the 1960s. During the 1970's patients were given transplants for leukemia after failure of all other treatment. Survivals were poor, but some patients were cured. Transplantation early in the course of the disease resulted in greatly improved survival. During the 1980s improved control of infections, the use of peripheral blood as the source of stem cells, and the ability to select donors other than family members resulted in wide application of hematopoietic cell grafting.


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Copyright information

© by Société Internionale de Chirurgie 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Donnall Thomas
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 1100 Fairview Avenue N., D5-100, Seattle, Washington 98109, USAUS

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