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Personal Tribute to John Goldman

John Goldman has been a towering figure in haematology. He has made seminal contributions, particularly in the fields of stem cell transplantation and chronic myeloid leukaemia. He will be remembered as a pioneer, a leader, a visionary, and a delightful colleague. His many achievements have and will be expanded upon by others who prepare their own tributes. I wanted to add my personal experience as one of the many hematologists mentored by John, all of us heartbroken by his premature death.

At a personal level, his influence has been fundamental in shaping the translational focus of my academic activities, my passion to investigate the biology and clinical management of leukemia and more recently, to my own mentoring style. I was invited to undertake a research project in Professor Goldman’s laboratory in 1989. He could see the potential to apply the recently developed polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology to address key biological and clinical questions in leukemia. This exemplified his capacity to rapidly identify the implications of a new technology or new discovery and apply it to his fields of interest.  He suggested that I develop the PCR assay in his laboratory to identify residual CML cells in patients who had achieved cytogenetic remissions after allografts. Building on the work of Gareth Morgan and others, some papers demonstrating the value and implications of these studies were published. During this period I saw first-hand John’s constant quest to improve our understanding of leukemia in order to develop better diagnostic and monitoring tools and better therapies, and his remarkable ability to recognize new developments that would have major clinical impact.

With the development of imatinib, the first targeted therapy for leukemia, I had the privilege to work closely with John and many others (including Jerry Radich, Sue Branford, Jaspal Kaeda, Andreas Hochhaus) to assess and validate the clinical value of measuring the leukemic load in the blood and marrow of CML patients using the newly developed quantitative PCR assay. This allowed us to define new response parameters, termed major molecular response (MMR) and complete molecular response (CMR) in CML patients treated with imatinib or other therapies. John was the driving force behind this work, but was happy to stay in the background, never seeking senior authorship on key papers that he could have rightly claimed.

In 2005 John organized a landmark international conference aiming to achieve harmony amongst laboratories that were using quantitative PCR to measure and report molecular response to imatinib therapy in CML patients. His experience as a Visiting Professor at the NIH in America convinced him that there was a desperate need to create order out of chaos in this area. There was strong evidence that molecular response measures were an excellent guide to rational therapy in CML but without standardization across laboratories and across borders this was not going to benefit patients who were being treated outside a limited number of academic centres. The conference that he organized brought together  global experts for 2 days and resulted in the development of the international scale to harmonize measurement of the leukemic transcript, something now used almost universally to measure individual responses to therapy in CML patients and to assess the effectiveness of new drugs and new combinations in the clinical trial setting. 

In 2007 Jorge Cortes, John and I had a memorable meal overlooking the Pathenon in Athens where we talked about the possibility of setting up an international CML Foundation with a mission to improve outcomes for patients with CML globally. We all agreed it would be great to have a CML Foundation but that it would take a huge commitment. Jorge and I both knew that getting John’s endorsement would be the key to making this a reality. Twelve months later John came back to us and said that after careful consideration he thought we should give it a go. I was delighted – I knew that leading this new CML Foundation would be the perfect role for John with his unique understanding of the key challenges in CML, excellent global connections, as well as his vision and leadership. I also knew that having committed to it, John would devote all of his energy and passion to its success. Over the past 5 years as Chair of the iCMLf John has been an inspirational leader, working closely with Nicola Evans, our Chief Executive, to build a strong foundation that is having a positive impact on the lives of many CML patients, in particular those patients in the emerging economies. John always had a passion for visiting and working with hematologists in India, Africa and South America, and this was the perfect vehicle for him to make further contributions in those regions. The ongoing programs of the iCMLf will be one of John’s many lasting legacies.

John has also Chaired the European School of Hematology (ESH) CML meeting for many years and in 2009 brought together iCMLf and ESH to run this meeting jointly. Together with Jorge Cortes, I have been privileged to co-chair this meeting with John for the past 5 years. Its pre-eminent position as THE CML meeting is solely due to John’s capacity to bring all of the key clinicians and researchers in the field together and to constantly refresh the meeting with new ideas and new directions. This will be another John Goldman legacy and it is fitting that the organizing committee unanimously agreed to rename the meeting the “John Goldman annual iCMLf/ESH meeting”.

John has been a mentor to so many hematologists and scientists over the past few decades. Their stories are all individual but have common themes, as can be seen by the many other tributes that have been written since John’s passing (available on the iCMLf website). His influence can be seen world-wide when you consider the many highly successful and influential scientists and clinicians who would name him as their key mentor. As well as his clinical acumen and scientific excellence it is his fundamental decency, good humour, and joy in discovery that will provide inspiration for the many people who have had the good fortune to work with him over the past 40 years.


with great sadness

With great sadness
I would like to pass my condolences to me and to all colleague who been joining our greats  Professor Goldman in his life journey . Its hard to find all the words to explain  greatness of his personality. He was an immanent figure . I was lucky  to work and to be trained by him.

He was a great physician and teacher   . He gave a lot to his work ,research  and also to his student and trainee. He was very  much supportive and giving person.

I share my deep feeling with you all for the loss of him and surely we will miss him.


Remembering John Goldman

May his soul rest in peace amen
Dr L Salawu

Remembering John Goldman

I admired Prof Goldman and I will miss him,


Anton Schattenberg

In sorrow

I am so sorry,
I am a new member and  I did't know the Proffesor John Goldman, but as i read about him i feel so sorry, his death is a great loss!
My mother is a pacient with CML, she send her sincere condolences too!
Arnita Ponari


Our condolences to John Goldman from Papua New Guinea.  Rest in peace. 
Dr Peter Olali

Remembering John

What an incredibly sad piece of news.
John was the heart and soul of CML research globally.
We will all miss his joy of scientific discoveries and advances in this area, and his relentless promotion of their dissemination and use.
We owe him the responsibility of continuing his life's work.
Best wishes to all.
Connie Eaves

A beloved teacher

Dear friends from iCMLf, I have been one of many of us taught by John. He learned me not only hematology and CML management during my short stay in Hammersmith, but also how to talk and behave with our patients, how to solve scientific issues, how to read new breakthroughs… Every time I had a pleasure to talk with him, I become more confident in my thoughts. Those short moments will miss me in future. John will remain in my memory as one of my beloved teachers. R.I.P

Andrija Bogdanovic, Belgrade, Serbia

We continue in his honour

It was with great sorrow that the iCMLf learned of the death of Professor Goldman.

With a worldwide reputation in the study of the biology and treatment of CML John was a true leader, teacher and inspiration to so many. He constantly sought to share his knowledge and experience for the improvement of the treatment of CML globally. So many people with CML are with us now and have benefited from his tireless efforts.

John was one of the cofounders and a visionary of the International CML Foundation. His legacy will live on through the direction set by his leadership as our chairman and it is in his honour we continue.

We share your feelings of deep loss of a colleague, mentor, friend and gentleman.

John, we will miss your wisdom, humor and thoughtfulness.

On behalf of the iCMLf Directors,


Thank you

Thank you for having given so much to CML community

Thank you for patients and their families

Thank you for all

Merci Professeur Goldman

Thank you Professor Goldman

A wonderful man I met in Paris the last month ( november 2013). He made a speech in a very good french. I had chance to exchange a few words with him.

What kind person he was! Our community lost an eminent specialist!

Thank you Professor Goldman!

Remembering John

I am grateful to have met John on many occasions, most often in the context of making plans to help support people worldwide living with CML. I have always been impressed by his vision, wisdom and wit. He touched so many of us around the world in his daily work, and in his honor we will carry his vision forward. His work with the international CML Foundation is part of his legacy, a gift to so many around the world. 

John, we will keep your spirit alive in all that we do.


Thank you, John!

The CML community  - colleagues and patients – lost a great mentor, advisor and friend.


When John Goldman invited me to the lab at Hammersmith Hospital, I was impressed about his generosity, visions and his global view on science. He was very focused on hypothesis driven research development, scientifically proper experimental design and critical analysis of results. He valued input of new ideas with a true team spirit, always focused on progress of the detailed knowledge of CML biology, diagnosis and therapeutic advances.


John shared with us many ideas and projects for the next years. The scientific community should continue his work – but CML meetings will be different without him.


I want to express my condolences to his family, to the team at Hammersmith hospital, to the International CML Foundation and to all his friends!


Andreas Hochhaus

Rest in Peace!

We were all shocked at the news of Prof. John Goldman’s death.

I first met John in 1996, when he came to Ethiopia to give a talk in CML. It was an eye-opening talk in the diagnosis, care and follow-up of patients with CML in Ethiopia.

John was a teacher, a friend and an inspirational leader for those of us who are involved in the care and treatment of patients with CML. He will always be remembered by us all and the generation of physicians to come.

What a loss!!

May His Soul Rest in Peace!

 Amha Gebremedhin


Thank you for your vision

I remember Prof John Goldman as a very supportive, friendly, encouraging and a great counselor to his peers working in challenging parts of the world.

Thank you for your vision and what you have done for CML patients.  You will always be remembered 

R.I.P. Professor John Goldman

Those who learned to know death, rather than fear and fight it, become our teachers about life. (Elisabeth Kubler Ross)

I´m sure he IS a teacher for a lot of people.



It is with great sadness that I share the news of the death of Professor john gldman, . I met him in lot of CML goals, he was,for me, a great inspiration and a teacher to many people , he will be greatly missed.





A man who was gold for us.

Dear John:

I have met you so many times, since I organized that meeting in Sevilla, many years ago, and I always doubt if bowing or shaking hands is the most appropriate way of greeting you.
And now you leave us,and  I do not know how to say goodbye to you. 
You are reading that your depart is  a tremendous loss, and probably you are saying , with a smile, that we are right in general, but wrong in the details. But, who cares for details, which such a teacher you are. We only need the landscape you painted for us. 
I have not had the privilege of being educated by you, but I have had the luck of listening your wise words and witty comments, during many years , along all the meetings we have had , specially those of the EICML. By the way, who will quote Shakespeare in our meetings, in such a timely manner?.
The life of a man is measured by the imprint he leaves on the life of others. In this regard, I have heard many times the good memories of those who have work directly with you. Among them, I remember the admiration of Eduardo, Andreas, David, Francois-Xavier. I dare to join now the choir of these voices, as a disciple,  telling that your memory  will not abandon me. 
Thank you , John.
Your friend,
Juan Luis Steegmann

The Gentle Giant is no more

Woke up on Christmas morning to the unutterably sad news of the passing of Professor John Goldman. One felt totally bereft. His was a towering personality in the field of CML and he was loved and revered by all: his patients , his students, his peers and in India , we knew we had as special a place in his heart as we had for him in ours. He attended two of our support group meetings - astounded by one Friends of Max meet which was 1000 strong , where I had the honour of being his interpretor and translating into Hindi his beautiful speech to them; he took time out to visit with us in our Bombay office , he came for almsot every annual Marrow Donor Registry of India meeting and always had time for discusisng even the minutest of issues and providing his inputs. 

My special moment with him ?One year not so long ago we must have met at least 5 times and his greeting to me at the last one was , Viji my dear girl, if this goes on , i do beleive people will think we are having an affair : this with that irepressible twinkle in his eye and a gallant smile. He was never without his trademark, wry , totally British sense of humour.  I will always remember him for this sweet, kind and incredibly warm moment we shared and of course Christmas will never be the same agian

Thank you Sir John!

A great pioneer in the field of Leukemia! I have not met you personally but read a lot about your great work, and tireless journey to help CML patients in the whole world. I will miss you!!!