E. Donnall Thomas, a physician who pioneered bone marrow transplants and later won the 1990 Nobel Prize in medicine, has died in Seattle at age 92.
The Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center announced the death Saturday. A spokesman says the cause was heart disease.
Thomas' groundbreaking work is among the greatest success stories in the treatment of leukemia. Bone marrow transplantation and its sister therapy, blood stem cell transplantation, have improved the survival rates for some blood cancers to upward of 90 percent from almost zero.
This year, about 60,000 transplants will be performed worldwide.
Larry Corey, the president of the research center, says Thomas will forever be known as the father of bone marrow transplantation, but to his colleagues he will be remembered as a colleague and a mentor.
Explore further: Antibodies from rabbits improve survival and relapse outcomes of leukemia and myelodysplasia