Thomas, Edward Donnall

Thomas, Edward Donnall, 1920–2012, American surgeon, b. Mart, Tex., M.D. Harvard, 1946. At the Univ. of Washington from 1963 (emeritus from 1990), Thomas performed (1969) the first successful bone marrow transplant between people who were not twins, using tissue crossmatching, radiation, sterilized environments, and immunosuppressive drugs to help prevent immune system complications and postoperative infection. For his innovations, which led to the use of the procedure as a standard treatment for leukemia in young people, he was awarded the 1990 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, which he shared with Joseph E. Murray, the first doctor to perform a successful kidney transplant. Known as the “father of the bone marrow transplant,” Thomas built the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Wash., which he joined in 1974, into the world's largest bone marrow transplant unit.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Medicine: Biographies