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Dr. Robert Good, 81; Pioneered Human Bone Marrow Transplants

June 16, 2003|From Staff and Wire Reports

Dr. Robert A. Good, 81, who performed the world's first successful human bone marrow transplant, died Friday of natural causes at his home in St. Petersburg, Fla.

A native of Crosby, Minn., Good decided to become a doctor at age 6 when his father died of cancer. The youth survived his own serious illness, a polio-like disease, during his student years at the University of Minnesota.

When he began his medical career in 1944, he devoted his studies to immunology, including identifying T-cells and B-cells, the main components of the body's immune system.

Working at the University of Minnesota, Good performed the world's first bone marrow transplant in 1968 on a 4-month-old boy. The infant suffered from a genetic immune system disease that had killed 11 male children in his extended family.

Using bone marrow from the baby's sister, Good restored the child's immune system and saved his life. The patient is now the father of twin boys.

Good's success earned him a cover story in Time magazine and appointment as president of the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research in New York.

In 1985, he joined All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, and two years later helped establish the National Bone Marrow Registry. Bone marrow transplants are currently used to treat more than 70 diseases, including leukemia.

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