John GoldmanBMJ 2014; 348 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g1467 (Published 10 March 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g1467
- Anne Gulland, London
John Goldman became interested in chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) at a key moment in the understanding of the disease. At the beginning of his career CML was fatal, with average life expectancy after diagnosis being around five years. The only treatment available was chemotherapy—which controlled the symptoms but did not prolong life. Goldman joined the haematology department at Hammersmith Hospital just as the genetic basis for the disease was being discovered.
Edward Donnall Thomas, a physician in the United States who eventually won a Nobel prize for his work, had started to publish papers showing the promising results of bone marrow transplantation on patients with leukaemia. Goldman became interested in this, and in the late 1970s he became the first UK doctor to perform a transplant from a matched sibling donor. This patient recently celebrated the 35th anniversary of that procedure.
Because 70% of patients did not have a matched relative donor, Goldman, amid much professional scepticism, began to consider casting …