Tuesday, November 16, 2010

George Mathe

George Mathe has died at the age of 88. He was a pioneer of bone marrow transplantation and immunotherapy. He is chiefly famous for his failures. His first transplants were for accidental radiation overdoses and they all died. He discovered graft versus host disease as a consequences. He later introduced BCG as an immune adjuvant to treat acute leukemia. He insisted that it worked when it didn't. He even suggested that those who could not repeat his work were using the wrong BCG - an argument reminiscent of those who criticised smallpox vaccination by suggesting that those who could not reproduce Jenner's work were using the wrong kind of cow.

I only met him the once, in a restaurant in Italy. I found him bombastic and opinionated. He was a bright guy who was lauded in France and had early fame for his courage and innovation, but his contribution to the field was more talked about than real and I don't think he deserved a share in the Nobel Prize that Don Thomas won. Can't say that I liked him much.

1 comment:

John said...

Great to have you blogging again, Terry. I trust you are feeling much better than you were a week ago.
John E.