JACOBSON and his colleagues in 1949 showed that a mouse could be protected against lethal irradiation by shielding of the spleen. Over the following seven years, studies in many laboratories showed conclusively that the protective effect of spleen cells or bone marrow cells was due to repopulation by donor cells of the host marrow that had been destroyed by irradiation. The implications for human disease were immediately apparent, and efforts to transplant human marrow by intravenous infusion of marrow cells was first described in 1957. Over the next decade, efforts to transplant marrow in man served only to delineate the magnitude of the problem, except for a few patients with identical twin donors, and to define the severity of the graft-vs-host disease (GVHD) resulting from the immunologic reaction of the donor marrow against the tissues of the host.
During this decade, fortunately, laboratory research continued. Inbred mice were used for
Thomas ED. Progress in Marrow Transplantation. JAMA. 1976;235(6):611–612. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03260320019015
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