Galton, David Abraham Goitein (1922-2006)

  • Galton, Professor David Abraham Goitein, CBE, (1922-2006), physician and haematologist
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work


Papers of David Abraham Goitein Galton, relating to his work as a physician and haematologist, focusing on leukaemia and lymphoma treatments.

The material covers the 1930s up to Galton's death in 2006, and mainly comprises offprints and articles collected and written by Galton; reports relating to leukaemia; Galton's student notes and research notebooks; correspondence with colleagues, including members of the MRC Leukaemia Research Unit; papers relating to FAB group meetings; correspondence, articles and case material on MRC unit drug trials; selected patient case files; papers relating to work on Scientific Advisory Committee of the Lady Tata Memorial Trust.



Physical description

17 boxes


Arranged in sections A-F as follows: A: Correspondence B: Publications C: Case material / Trials D: Committee papers E: Research papers F: Administrative

Acquisition note

Donated to the library at Wellcome Collection, via Professor Barbara J. Bain, by Mrs N. P. Galton. Accession 1705 on 11/11/2009; accession 1743 on 29/04/2010.

Biographical note

David Galton was a physician and haematologist, an early pioneer in the development of effective treatments for leukaemia and other cancers.

Born in London in 1922, Galton studied medicine at Trinity College Cambridge and University College London, qualifying in 1946. Early in his career he worked at the Royal Cancer Hospital (later the Royal Marsden Hospital) as a Clinical Research Assistant to Dr Alexander Haddow, then head of the Chester Beatty Research Institute. In 1947 he came to know Professor John Dacie, head of the haematology department at the Postgraduate Medical School at Hammersmith Hospital, London, where they examined and discussed the abnormal blood cells of a recently deceased patient of the Royal Surrey County Hospital, where Galton had been acting as a locum clinical pathologist. In the same year Galton managed to obtain, via the Chester Beatty Institute, an amount of aminopterin, an experimental anti-leukaemia drug from America. With the help and involvement of Haddow, Dacie and Sir John McMichael, head of medicine at the Postgraduate Medical School, it was administered to a patient with acute leukaemia and induced a remission of three months, an unprecedented occurrence in the 1940s.

During the late 1940s, Galton established a programme with Alexander Haddow, Eric Boyland, Walter Ross and George Timmis to synthesise and study the potential of various chemicals in the treatment of cancer: urethane, busulphan, chlorambucil and melphalan, some of which are still in use today. Galton continued to manage the care of patients with leukaemia and lymphoma at Hammersmith into the 1950s.

In 1959 Galton was invited to become secretary of the first Medical Research Council (MRC) Leukaemia Working Party. In 1969 the MRC Leukaemia Research Unit was established at the British (by now Royal) Postgraduate Medical School (BPMS), with Galton as its Director. The Unit oversaw the clinical management of leukaemia patients to whom new drugs could be administered in a controlled environment.

Galton was also a founder member of the French-American-British (FAB) group, which focused on the diagnosis and classification of cancers of the blood. The group was made up of seven haematologists who met regularly to exchange microscopic slides and examine case histories. Between 1976 and 1990 the group published a series of papers on the classification of blood cancers which formed a basic diagnostic framework for leukaemia and lymphoma. During this time Galton also founded an international workshop on chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) with colleagues from France and the USA which also held regular meetings.

Throughout his career Galton was a scientific adviser to the Leukaemia Research Fund charity. In the 1970s he became secretary and later chairman of the Lady Tata Memorial Trust. The Trust had been established in 1932 by Sir Dorabji Tata in memory of his wife Lady Meherbai, who had died of leukaemia in 1931. The Lady Tata Memorial Trust funds international research on leukaemia in India and worldwide, and also supports individual applications for leukaemia research.

Galton was a founder member of the British Society of Haematology, and on the editorial board of the British Journal of Haematology. Galton was also Chairman of the Working Party on Leukaemia in Adults and the Steering Committee on Leukaemia, and a member of WHO panel on the classification and nomenclature of malignant tumours of lymphoid tissue.

Galton died of metastatic cancer of the prostate on 28 November 2006.


1922: Born

1936-1946: Studied at Trinity College, Cambridge (MB BCh; MA)

1947: Appointed Clinical Research Assistant at Chester Beatty Research Institute, Royal Marsden Hospital

1957: Appointed Honorary Consultant in Chemotherapy, Royal Marsden Hospital

1963: Appointed head of the Chemotherapy Unit, Royal Marsden Hospital; MD, Cambridge

1965: Appointments: Consultant Physician in Chemotherapy, Royal Marsden Hospital; Honorary Consultant in Haematology, Hammersmith Hospital; Honorary Clinical Assistant and Advisory in Chemotherapy, Brompton Hospital; Honorary Lecturer in Haematology, Postgraduate Medical School

1970: Appointed Director of the MRC Leukaemia Unit, Hammersmith Hospital

1976: Appointed Emeritus Professor of Haematological Oncology, London University

1986: Awarded CBE

2006: Died

Related material

See Wellcome subject guide on cancer.

Copyright note

Copyright in David Galton's writings has been assigned to the Wellcome Trust by Mrs Galton.

Terms of use

This collection has been catalogued and is available to library members. Some items have access restrictions which are explained in the item-level catalogue records.


Some abbreviations used in this catalogue:

ALL: Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia

BPMS: British (later Royal) Postgraduate Medical School

CGL: Chronic granulocytic leukaemia

CLL: Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia

CML: Chronic myeloid leukaemia

MRC: Medical Research Council

SAC: Scientific Advisory Committee

UKCCG: United Kingdom Cancer Cytogenetics Group

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Accession number

  • 1705
  • 1743