Robert A. Good

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Dr. Robert A. Good (right) at the White House in 1973 with (left to right) Benno Schmidt, President Richard Nixon, and Dr. R. L. Clark (M.D. Anderson Cancer Center). The occasion was the Conquest of Cancer Program.

Robert Alan Good (May 21 1922June 13 2003) was an American physician who performed the first successful human bone marrow transplant and is regarded as a founder of modern immunology.[1]

Robert Good was born in Crosby, Minnesota, the second son of parents who worked as educators.[1] He attended the University of Minnesota and its medical school, receiving a B.A. degree in 1944, and M.D. and Ph.D. degrees in 1947.[2] He was the first student to undertake a combined M.D.-Ph.D curriculum at Minnesota.[3]

While an undergraduate, he developed a polio-like illness that left him partially paralyzed. His mother pushed his wheelchair into his medical school classrooms. He eventually recovered from the illness, but retained a pronounced limp for the remainder of his life.[1]

After obtaining his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees, Good undertook clinical training in pediatrics at the University of Minnesota Hospitals.[2] After a fellowship year at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, he returned to the University of Minnesota Medical School in 1950,[2] where he engaged in research on the immune system. Among his accomplishments, in 1962 he documented the importance of the thymus gland, in 1965 he documented the important role of the tonsils in developing the immune defense systems of mammals including humans, and in 1968 he led the team that performed the first successful human bone marrow transplant. [4] The patient who received the transplant was a 5-month-old boy with a profound immune deficiency that had earlier led to the deaths of eleven male members of his extended family. The boy received bone marrow transplanted from his 8-year-old sister. The transplant was successful and the boy grew up to become a healthy adult.[4]

In 1972 he went to New York City to become president of the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research. At Sloan-Kettering he continued his research into the human immune system. He remained at Sloan-Kettering until 1982, but his tenure there was marred by the discovery in 1974 of serious scientific fraud perpetrated by William T. Summerlin, a member of his lab who had previously worked with him at Minnesota. In 1982 he moved to the Cancer Research Program at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation in Oklahoma City, where he remained until 1985, when he became Physician-in-Chief at the All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida, where he remained until his death in 2003.

Good was the 1970 recipient of the Albert Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research[5] and the Gairdner Foundation International Award.[1] Additionally, he received the American College of Physicians Award in 1972, and was a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a charter member of the Institute of Medicine.[1]

Good died from esophageal cancer at age 81 in St. Petersburg, Florida.[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 In Memoriam: Robert A. Good May 21, 1922–June 13, 2003, by Max D. Cooper, The Journal of Immunology, 2003, 171: 6318-6319.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Curriculum Vitae: Robert A. Good, M.D., Ph.D., D.Sc., FACP, Robert A. Good Archives (accessed January 27, 2008)
  3. Concise Autobiography by Robert A. Good, 1997, Robert A. Good Archives (accessed January 27, 2008)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Robert A. Good, 81, Founder Of Modern Immunology, Dies, by Wolfgang Saxon, The New York Times, June 18 2003
  5. Former Winners, Albert Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research: Robert A. Good Obituary, Lasker Foundation website (accessed January 27, 2008)
  • Ribatti, Domenico (2006), "The fundamental contribution of Robert A. Good to the discovery of the crucial role of thymus in mammalian immunity.", Immunology (published 2006 Nov), 119 (3), pp. 291–5, doi:10.1111/j.1365-2567.2006.02484.x, PMID:17067308 Check date values in: |year=, |publication-date= (help)
  • Nezelof, Christian; Seemayer, Thomas A (2004), "[Robert Alan Good or the genius intuitions of an immunologist]", La Revue du praticien (published 2004 May 31), 54 (10), pp. 1153–7, PMID:15369160 Check date values in: |year=, |publication-date= (help)
  • O'Reilly, Richard J (2003), "Robert Alan Good, MD, PhD.", Biol. Blood Marrow Transplant. (published 2003 Oct), 9 (10), pp. 608–9, doi:10.1016/j.bbmt.2003.08.010, PMID:14569556 Check date values in: |year=, |publication-date= (help)

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ar:روبرت غود