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Just can't believe you are gone...

Dear Professor Godlman,

I will always treasure your memory and all the wonderful care and support you gave me when I was your patient first in Hammesmith, London and later at NIH, in Bethesda, MD.  I will miss your great sense of humor and your jokes-- that little wry smile, the eye glasses on the forehead.. ..  I will miss the best doctor I have ever had, the one I owe to the fact that I am still alive today.   You were great and unique and I will never forget you.

Sleep in peace.

A tribute to John Goldman (1938-2013)


When I had the good fortune to join John Goldman and his team at the newly formed Leukaemia Unit at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School in London’s Hammersmith Hospital from 1972 to 1975, the general view was that leukaemia was incurable, and most medical practitioners at the time (and indeed the general public) would have considered any attempt to change this situation as ‘pie in the sky’. However the view in the Leukaemia Unit itself was different. The air of cautious optimism that prevailed was due to the remarkable group of scientific visionaries that were gathered under the overall direction of the late Professors John Dacie and David Galton, one of the key proponents being John Goldman. John found a niche for himself in the study of chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) and brought into clinical practice a number of ideas which have since totally transformed the management of the disease. Where once the average survival was 3-4 years, now with modern treatment, much of it pioneered by Goldman, most patients live normal lives for many years or decades and indeed many may well be cured.

His early ideas, tested at the time I was working under his direction, included the collection (leucapheresis) and cold storage (cryopreservation) of circulating leukaemia cells, based on the then novel concept that one might be able to prolong patients’ lives by administering intensive chemotherapy at the time of leukaemia progression, while the previously collected leukaemia cells were in cold storage (ex vivo) and then re-infusing the unaffected cells to return the patient to an earlier stage of their disease. Although in its pure form this concept has not survived, such thinking led directly to the development of bone marrow transplantation which John pioneered in the 1980s and 1990s as the first curative treatment for CML. Many CML patients are alive today, 20 or 30 years later, thanks to this work in London.

In parallel with such clinical developments John maintained a keen interest in the burgeoning laboratory understanding of the molecular basis of CML. Thus he was in on the ground floor of the introduction of imatinib, a remarkable targeted pharmaceutical agent logically developed as a specific antagonist to the abnormal protein (bcr/abl) that was responsible for the uncontrolled growth of the CML cells. Imatinib and its progeny have led to a second revolution in CML treatment; in retrospect one can see bone marrow transplantation as ‘intermediate technology’. Today a newly diagnosed CML patient can have his or her disease quickly and easily brought under control, and quite possibly cured, by taking a tablet a day, with in most cases minimal side effects. John can also be credited with having played a significant role in persuading the pharmaceutical company Novartis to bring imatinib to market, rather than discarding it as unlikely to help the company’s bottom line.

John was not only an outstanding clinician and scientist, he was one of the rare people who was able to stand back and take a broad view of his work, and see where it fitted in with the work of others and where collaboration would advance the cause. Thus he reached out to those working on CML all around the world, acting as mentor to many, and developed international alliances that in many ways were as important in enabling the new treatments to be brought to patients everywhere, as were the scientific developments themselves. In this vein, his work as founding editor of the journal Bone Marrow Transplantation and his chairmanship of the International CML Foundation, amongst many other important global roles, were as significant as his research.

As a person he was always polite and quietly spoken, the epitome of an English gentleman, always respectful of other opinions. Two years ago he did me the enormous honour of taking time out of a rushed antipodean trip to attend and speak at my own Festschrift in Hobart, Tasmania. I am most grateful that good fortune and timing enabled me to work with him during those crucial early years.

The world has lost an important player in the quest for a cure for all forms of leukaemia. Fortunately his legacy lives on, in the form of the many thousands of CML patients who are alive today thanks to John Goldman’s dedication and his vision.

Ray Lowenthal

Menzies Research Institute, University of Tasmania


"I will arise and go now..."


I first met John in 1984 when I was a fellow in hematology and oncology. Though I did not know John well, he agreed to supervise my doctorate in CML. Little was I to know how he would slowly, but surely, play an increasing role in all wakes of my life, not only as my mentor , colleague and co-author, but also as my close friend and confidante. I was fortunate enough to have lived with him for extended periods in London, during 1986 and 2008, during which I saw, firsthand, his exemplary devotion to his work, his various other passions and wonderful idiosyncracies. John loved his family, in particular his three children and his grandchildren. He had many mentees and friends; he enjoyed arts and humanities and a sophisticated life-style. Though he had a superb kitchen (where I sometimes cooked for us), unashamedly, John would declare that he had no interest, nor skill, in cooking. We shared our various personal and professional sorrows and challenges, but also much joy and laughter, as we travelled and worked together in the far corners of the globe particularly over the past two decades. John was instrumental in founding several professional societies, in particular the European Haematology Association, the European Group for Blood and Marrow Transplantation, and the British Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation. He also engendered vital support for various cancer charities, such as LEUKA 2000, International CML Foundation, and provided guidance to Alpine Oncology Foundation which I founded in 2011. It is telling that, only a fortnight prior to him passing, we began work to establish the Africa CML Network.

People in many walks of life were shocked and saddened on hearing the news of John’s passing last Christmas Eve. The abundant praises, tributes and testimonies expressed by his family, friends, patients and colleagues serve to exemplify some of the indelible impressions he made on so many people’s lives. John is, and will continue to be missed by many. I will miss John’s elegance, his intellect, his wonderful capacity to teach, his unique sense of humor, his tact, his sense of vision and his love for life. I feel indebted to John for sharing all these aspects of himself with us all.


I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree, 
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made; 
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee, 
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow, 
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings; 
There midnight's all a-glimmer, and noon a purple glow, 
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day 
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore; 
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray, 
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

Tariq Mughal MD FRCP

Boston & London


A great scholar and a great man


I am so very saddened by our loss of John Goldman. John was always able to inspire and provide an equally unique perspective on the extraordinary as well as the mundane. His breadth and depth of knowledge on a whole gamut of disciplines was dazzling - he displayed an unparalleled level of scholarly sophistication on so many things, including Plato, Shakespeare and Napoleon (to name but a few), which I will always admire. Alongside this, it was his youthful sense of curiosity, willingness to listen and to accept an alternative view, which made it so special to spend time with him.



I will remember John for his incisive sense of humour and playful ironic comments, his just principles, his stories, his incapacity to be fazed and his disarmingly warm smile. John’s idiosyncrasies were quite lovely; the way he perched his glassed on his forehead, his slow walk with his hands clasped behind his back whilst deep in thought or conversation, his penchant for correct pronunciation and his graceful chivalry. He spoke with kindness and thoughtfulness to all, and always interacted with humility, integrity and generosity of spirit. It is clear that John was not only a great scholar, but also a great man. And it is that too-rare combination that will ensure his lasting place in the memory of everyone who knew him. 


Remembering a true scholar


In remembering John, I would like to share the following memory, which to me exemplifies my respect and regard for John as a scholar far beyond our field:

Several years ago, following an ASG meeting in New Orleans, we were traveling as a group to a post-ASH MPN meeting in Mississippi, which was co-chaired by John.

For reasons unclear to all of us, the bus driver did not start the engine and we could not get going. John stood at the front of the bus, and, after a short, apparently unproductive discussion with the bus driver turned to us sitting at the front of the bus and - proceeded to recite Shakespeare!

He recited long passages from The Tempest, entire sonnets as well as quoting memorable passages from different works. Once in a while he stopped, looking expectantly at Catriona Jamieson and me, who were sitting in the front row, as if to encourage us to continue. We demurely declined, trying not to make it too obvious that we could have barely quoted a single line, never mind delivering the 45 minute exquisite rendition of these famous works, complete with changes in tone, gesture and facial expression to which John treated us. We forgot entirely that we were hungry, tired and needlessly delayed by a bus that would not move.

John Goldman was a scholar in the true sense of the word: widely read, broadly interested in and knowledgeable of many topics, exquisitely curious in mind, constructively critical of his own work and that of others, yet generous with praise and recognition for his colleagues. It was an honor and a privilege to have known him.


Goodbye John...

A great scientific mind and a master clinician left us on Christmas Eve.
I am deeply saddened by John's untimely departure. I am deeply honored to have met him almost 4 years ago.

A towering presence in CML clinical and translational science, John had deep insights on the Philadelphia-chromosome-negative Myeloproliferative Neoplasias (MPNs) and it was simply amazing listening to those…

A humanist and true Homo Universalis, he will be missed by patients and colleagues alike.
Goodbye John...

"They are on your head"

I worked with John from 1983 to 1991, as lab technician, graduate student, and glasses-spotter. "Have you seen my glasses?" he would ask. "They are on your head" I answered one time, and although I looked at him as he walked over to me, I could have guessed their locations since they spent alot of time there (see how many photos have them balanced on his forhead). John was protective of his flock, on grand rounds, oral presentations, my thesis defense. Other memories? Climbing over the wall to enter the Harley St Clinic one day when the door was locked; him swallowing a fly while driving his Nissan (one of the few times I saw him pissed off). I just found out about his death and terrible sadness is tempered by his wonderful life. I am lucky to have known him.

Farewell Professor Goldman


With his death, Professor Goldman, we lose a great scientist and science loses much elegance in hematology

God Bless You


God Bles you John. We will miss you.

Good bless you professor John Goldman

Dr. Goldman is one of those excellent persons who never die. John lives in the heart of every CML physician and mainly the patients who are in the functional cure of his own concept after Imatinib treatment. Your help and contribuition of Mexico physicians in particular myself, thank you Dr. Goldman you will live with me and my collegues.

Good Bless you




Remembering Professor John Goldman

Our CML community has lost a very strong leader and pillar of knowledge and we owe an immeasurable amount of gratitude to him and his family for sharing professor Goldman with us. There is a story that I would like to share that should highlight, what I feel, was professor’s Goldman’s ability to understand delicate issues and ultimately make the right decision.  For quite a few years CML patients had been trying to attend the CML ESH conference but, to no avail. Time and time again we were told it is a researcher medical doctor conference only.  But one year that changed.  The ESH meeting was going to be held in Boston Massachusetts and I thought I should let Dr. Richard Rockefeller (a medical doctor and CML patient himself) know about it, and perhaps I could accompany him to the meeting.  I registered for the meeting and was informed that my attendance was accepted, but after a few days my registration was later withdrawn as it was realized that indeed I was a CML patient and therefore not really qualified to attend.  I wrote an appeal directly to Professor Goldman telling him why I wanted to attend and who I was attending with.  Finally my registration was accepted under the agreement that I would strictly adhere to the protocol and not share anything publicly about what was learned at the meeting as the entire contents of the meeting are completely embargoed until after ASH.  I was very grateful to comply with the rules.  During the meeting, Dr. Rockefeller and myself were sitting close by to Professor Goldman who saw that we were taking notes on our computer and reminded us on many occasions that  all contents of the meeting were embargoed.  We assured him that our computers were not attached to the internet in anyway and we were very happy to comply with the embargo orders.  At the end of the meeting we had an opportunity to thank Professor Goldman for allowing me to attend and we told him how exciting it was to be at the meeting.  From a patients perspective, it gave us great hope and let us see, in a more intimate setting, the very researchers and indeed the direction of the research that would hopefully lead to continuing on improving outcomes for patients with CML.  Importantly it gave me a good heads up as to what research to follow up with at ASH while providing me with important time needed to get a better understanding of what I was learning.  Ultimately when some of the research eventually moved into patient trials, I was much better prepared to help and coach patients who might be eligible to participate by explaining it a bit more in patients language.  So it was at the 2008 meeting of ESH in Boston Massachusetts that two CML patients were the first to attend the ESH meeting all the while being guided by Professor Goldman on understanding the importance of adhering to the embargo.  Since then I am happy to see that there are many CML patients who attend ESH and true to our word we continue to obey the rules of the imposed embargo.  I have never been able to thank professor Goldman enough for his guidance and encouragement.  It really does not seem fair that someone who has given so selflessly of their life in the pursuit of helping CML patients improve their outcomes, and indeed look forward to normal lifespan, that he himself should be so stricken with such another type of  rare type of cancer.  But thankfully, attending ESH conferences has allowed us to see that he has worked hard to mentor a newer generation of researchers and leaders so that his work and the work of many others will continue to flourish for years to come.  

Cheryl-Anne Simoneau, B.A.
The Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML) Society of Canada

God bless you

i'm a new CML patient from China,although i don't understand you or read any book of you,i guess you are a good man for us.GOD bless you


I was utterly shocked to learn the loss of Prof. John Goldman.

I vividly remember my last encounter with John at his office at Hammer Smith Hospital, London in October, 2013 during my ERSAP. He was so humble enough to arrange a meeting despite his busy schedule to discuss about the care of CML in Emerging Nations like my country to know more about the real situation from a minnow physician like me. This encounter tells pages of his great quality as a highly dedicated professional, great enthusiasm to help the needy, his humility and boundless affection for humans.

My CML patients & myself are the main beneficiaries from his lifetime advances that he has accomplished & the establishment of organizations like iCMLf and thousands are benefitting even at this very moment as well as for long time to come. He accomplished much more than his share and more than any one.

Everyone who had the opportunity to work with him should consider themselves very fortunate as John was fountain of knowledge yet always comforting and extremely caring. May his soul rest in peace as he has lived a life that we will all cherish.



I have spent a most healing few hours reading all the comments that have been written about Professor John Goldman... and how much he meant to you all.

He was not only a great doctor.  but a very special and caring brother and I shall miss his wise advice and support more than I can say.




Rest well

He will be dearly missed. 

Prof. John M. Goldman

"Death ends a life, not a relationship."

Saddest news of the year

This was the most tragic news of the end of this year, John lost his battle against this terrible disease for which we have no targeted therapies.. yet. However John's battle against CML was an example of success, from BMT to TKI and from Annapolis to Estoril meetings over many years and the CML research that he promoted will serve as an example for other cancers.  We can all hear him saying "the next session will start precisely at..." John Goldman CML meetings should continue.

Ali Turhan

Remembering John Goldman

Dear all, I was terribly sorry to hear of the death of John Goldman. Last time we had met in Praque during ELN Meeting. For me John was the most important mentor and teacher of haematology. I spent almost two years in late seventies and early eighties at the Hammersmith Hospital having the privilege to work in this team, doing both science and clinical haematology. I owe Him a lot. It was my great honor to host Him in Gdańsk several times. On one such occasion He was granted a honorary membership of Polish Society of Haematolgy. He also was for many years the member of International Scientific Committee of our journal Acta Haematologica Polonica. So I and many of my polish colleagues feel a deep loss of great haematologist and also close friend.

Non Omnis Moriar

Prof. Andrzej Hellmann

Department of Hematology and BMT Unit

Medical University of Gdańsk


R.I.P John Goldman!

I had the privilege  of meeting John in Mumbai in November 1998 . A gentle soft spoken teacher with an incisive mind, who brought  home to us the myriad complexities of CML.

The field of CML patients and its physicians will always miss John.

R.I.P. John !