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November 27, 1972

Platelet Transfusions and Supportive CareA Requirement for Currently Effective Chemotherapy

JAMA. 1972;222(9):1172-1173. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03210090052027

Two major obstacles to optimal chemotherapy were observed by Sidney Farber not long after he discovered in 1947 that folic acid antagonists can produce remissions in children with acute leukemia. Those obstacles were the massive hemorrhages and infection secondary to thrombocytopenia and leukopenia, caused by the disease or by complications of the treatment. Control of bleeding and infection was needed to bring about the full effectiveness of antitumor agents. Accordingly, Farber proposed the concept of supportive therapy and initiated programs of research to remove those obstacles.1

In 1954,I joined in this research effort with Dr. Farber and his colleagues, Dr. Gustave Freeman, who had separated platelets from whole blood successfully, and Dr. Edmund Klein, who developed the closed plastic bag method for separation of platelets and other blood components. The safety and the efficacy of platelet transfusions were reevaluated and established.2

Further studies provided guidelines for dose-scheduling of