Giving Compass' Take:

• The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center recounts a time in 1972 when bone marrow transplantation was still in its infancy, two doctors teamed up with a mutual goal in mind and ended up changing the field. 

• What can we learn from this article about how the Fred Hutch Bone Marrow Transplant Program become so successful with this work?

Here's another inspiring story of a doctor's radical idea that now saves 70,000 lives a year. 


It was August 1972, and Dr. George McDonald was mystified.

Just two months into his fellowship, the young physician was fielding consultation requests for patients with gastrointestinal and liver problems. But the phone call from Dr. Don Thomas was different. The future Nobel Prize winner, whom he’d never met, had mentioned bone marrow transplantation and a sick patient and something called "graft-vs.-host disease." Could McDonald come do a consult?

Of course, he replied. Then he hung up the phone.

“I had no clue what he was talking about,” McDonald recalled.

He raced to the library to consult the massive Index Medicus — “the paper-based Google of its day” — and looked up GVHD and bone marrow transplantation. It contained virtually nothing. And it contained even less about GVHD’s impact on the digestive system.

Read the full article about bone marrow transplant by Jake Siegel at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center