David Abraham Goitein GaltonBMJ 2007; 334 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39125.732188.FA (Published 22 March 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:642
- Caroline Richmond
David Galton was one of the first medical oncologists and the first in the United Kingdom to produce remissions for patients with lymphoma and leukaemia. In 1957, when he entered cancer research, the life expectancy of acute leukaemia patients was measured in weeks or even days. The outlook for lymphoma and myeloma were equally bleak. In the United States cancer chemotherapy was taking its first steps. By 1987, when Galton retired, acute leukaemia was classified into many types, many curable, and most treatable, with patients surviving months or years. He played a key role in this story, thanks to his acute observance at the microscope, and his ability to correlate these observations with what he saw in the clinic.
As a young doctor at the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford in 1947, he took a microscope slide of a patient's cells to the great haematologist John Dacie, later Sir John, at Hammersmith Hospital's postgraduate medical school. This was to sow the seeds of his later …