E. Donnall Thomas

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E. Donnall Thomas
Edward Donnall "Don" Thomas.jpg
Thomas in 2000
Edward Donnall Thomas

(1920-03-15)March 15, 1920
Mart, Texas, United States
DiedOctober 20, 2012(2012-10-20) (aged 92)
Seattle, Washington, United States
Alma mater University of Texas at Austin
Harvard Medical School
Known for Transplantation
Awards Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine,
National Medal of Science in 1990
Scientific career
Fields Medicine
InstitutionsMary Imogene Bassett Medical Center
Notable students Eloise Giblett

Edward Donnall "Don" Thomas (March 15, 1920 – October 20, 2012) [1] was an American physician, professor emeritus at the University of Washington, and director emeritus of the clinical research division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. In 1990 he shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Joseph E. Murray for the development of cell and organ transplantation. Thomas and his wife and research partner Dottie Thomas developed bone marrow transplantation as a treatment for leukemia. [2]

Physician professional who practices medicine

A physician, medical practitioner, medical doctor, or simply doctor, is a professional who practises medicine, which is concerned with promoting, maintaining, or restoring health through the study, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of disease, injury, and other physical and mental impairments. Physicians may focus their practice on certain disease categories, types of patients, and methods of treatment—known as specialities—or they may assume responsibility for the provision of continuing and comprehensive medical care to individuals, families, and communities—known as general practice. Medical practice properly requires both a detailed knowledge of the academic disciplines, such as anatomy and physiology, underlying diseases and their treatment—the science of medicine—and also a decent competence in its applied practice—the art or craft of medicine.

University of Washington public research university in Seattle, Washington, United States

The University of Washington is a public research university in Seattle, Washington.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center cancer research institute in Seattle, Washington, United States

The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, also known as Fred Hutch or The Hutch, is a cancer research institute established in 1972 in Seattle, Washington.



Born in Mart, Texas, Thomas often shadowed his father who was a general practice doctor. Later, he attended the University of Texas at Austin where he studied chemistry and chemical engineering, graduating with a B.A. in 1941 and an M. A. in 1943. While Thomas was an undergraduate he met his wife, Dorothy (Dottie) Martin while she was training to be journalist. They had three children. Thomas entered Harvard Medical School in 1943, receiving an M.D. in 1946. Dottie became a lab technician during this time to support the family, and the pair worked closely thereafter. He did his residency at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital before joining the US Army. "In 1955, he was appointed physician in chief at the Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital, now Bassett Medical Center, in Cooperstown, N.Y., an affiliate of Columbia University." [3]

Mart, Texas City in Texas, United States

Mart is a city in Limestone and McLennan counties in the U.S. state of Texas. The population was 2,426 at the 2010 census.

Texas State of the United States of America

Texas is the second largest state in the United States by both area and population, right behind Alaska. Geographically located in the South Central region of the country, Texas shares borders with the U.S. states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the southwest, while the Gulf of Mexico is to the southeast.

University of Texas at Austin public research university in Austin, Texas, United States

The University of Texas at Austin is a public research university in Austin, Texas. It was founded in 1883 and is the flagship institution of the University of Texas System. The University of Texas was inducted into the Association of American Universities in 1929, becoming only the third university in the American South to be elected. The institution has the nation's eighth-largest single-campus enrollment, with over 50,000 undergraduate and graduate students and over 24,000 faculty and staff.

At Mary Imogene Bassett, he began to study rodents that received lethal doses of radiation who were then saved by an infusion of marrow cells. At the time, patients who underwent bone marrow transplantation all died from infections or immune reactions that weren't seen in the rodent studies. Thomas began to use dogs as a model system. In 1963, he moved his lab to the United States Public Health Service in Seattle. [4]

Animal testing on rodents

Rodents are commonly used in animal testing, particularly mice and rats, but also guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils and others. Mice are the most commonly used vertebrate species, due to their availability, size, low cost, ease of handling, and fast reproduction rate.

United States Public Health Service division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services concerned with public health

The United States Public Health Service (USPHS) is a division of the Department of Health and Human Services concerned with public health. It contains eight out of the department's eleven operating divisions. The Assistant Secretary for Health (ASH) oversees the PHS. The Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (PHSCC) is the federal uniformed service of the USPHS, and is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States.

Thomas also received National Medal of Science in 1990. In 2003 he was one of 22 Nobel laureates who signed the Humanist Manifesto. [5]

National Medal of Science award

The National Medal of Science is an honor bestowed by the President of the United States to individuals in science and engineering who have made important contributions to the advancement of knowledge in the fields of behavioral and social sciences, biology, chemistry, engineering, mathematics and physics. The twelve member presidential Committee on the National Medal of Science is responsible for selecting award recipients and is administered by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Humanism and Its Aspirations is the most recent of the Humanist Manifestos, published in 2003 by the American Humanist Association (AHA). The newest one is much shorter, listing six primary beliefs, which echo themes from its predecessors:

He died of heart failure and is survived by his three children. [4]

Awards and honors

The Charles F. Kettering Prize was a US$250,000 award given by the General Motors Cancer Research Foundation for the most outstanding recent contribution to the diagnosis or treatment of cancer.

The Karl Landsteiner Memorial Award is a scientific award given by the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) to scientists with "an international reputation in transfusion medicine or cellular therapies" "whose original research resulted in an important contribution to the body of scientific knowledge". Recipients give a lecture at the AABB Annual Meeting and receive a $7,500 honorarium. The prize was initiated in 1954 to honor Karl Landsteiner, whose research laid the foundation for modern blood transfusion therapy.

The Canada Gairdner International Award is given annually at a special dinner to five individuals for outstanding discoveries or contributions to medical science. Receipt of the Gairdner is traditionally considered a precursor to winning the Nobel Prize in Medicine; as of 2018, 86 Nobel Prizes have been awarded to prior Gairdner recipients.

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  1. Frederick R. Appelbaum. Perspective: E. Donnall Thomas (1920–2012) Science 338(6111):1163, 30 November 2012
  2. Park, B; Yoo, KH; Kim, C (December 2015). "Hematopoietic stem cell expansion and generation: the ways to make a breakthrough". Blood Research. 50 (4): 194–203. doi:10.5045/br.2015.50.4.194. PMC   4705045 . PMID   26770947. Dr. Donnall Thomas, who received Nobel Prize for his pioneering work in bone marrow transplantation to cure leukemia and other hematologic malignancies, must be recognized and apprised as human endeavor to cure previously incurable diseases.
  3. "E. Donnall Thomas, Who Advanced Bone Marrow Transplants, Dies at 92". The New York Times. October 24, 2012.
  4. 1 2 Storb, R. (2012). "Edward Donnall Thomas (1920–2012)". Nature. 491 (7424): 334. Bibcode:2012Natur.491..334S. doi:10.1038/491334a. PMID   23151572.
  5. "Notable Signers". Humanism and Its Aspirations. American Humanist Association. Retrieved October 4, 2012.