Robert A. Good, MD, PhD, DSc, FACP - The Father of Modern Immunology.  1922-2003 
 Robert A Good Archives

The Scientific Contributions of Robert A. GoodMajor Scientific Contributions

Robert A. Good, Colleagues, and Students

    1. Discovered, in independent research, that plasma cells are the major antibody elements in the mammalian system. These contributions were independent of, but parallel to the critical contributions of Fagraeus of Sweden (1947-1951).
      1. Good, R.A.: The morphologic mechanisms of hyperergic inflammation in the brain; with special reference to the significance of local plasma cell formation.
        Ph.D. dissertation, the Graduate School of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, November, 1947.
      2. Good, R.A.: Effect of passive sensitization and anaphylactic shock on rabbit bone marrow.
        Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol. Med. 67:203-205, 1948.
      3. Good, R.A.: Campbell, B. Good, T.A.: Prophylactic and therapeutic effect of para-aminobenzoic acid and sodium salicylate on experimental allergic encephalomyelitis.
        Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol. Med. 72:343-347, 1949
      4. Good, R.A.: Relationship of bone marrow plasmacytosis to the changes in serum gamma globulin in rheumatic fever.
        Am. J. Med.
        9:330-342, 1950
      5. Good, R.A.: The Minnesota Scene: A crucial portal of entry to modern cellular immunology.
        The Immunological Revolution: Facts and Witnesses. (A. Szentivanyi and H. Friedman, eds.), University Presses of Florida, Boca Raton, 1993, pp. 105-168.
    2. Bisection of the lymphoid cell universe into antibody producing plasma cells and lymphocytes responsible for cell mediated immunity in X-linked agammaglobulinemia in 1954 and described ‘Good’s Syndrome’ in 1954
      1. Good, R.A.: Agammaglobulinemia -- a provocative experiment of nature.
        Bull. Univ. Minn.
        Hosp. Minn. Med. Found. 26:1-19, October, 1954.
      2. Good, R.A.: Absence of plasma cells from bone marrow and lymph nodes following antigenic stimulation in patients with agammaglobulinemia.
        Revue d'Hematol. 9:502-503, 1954.
      3. Good, R.A.: Studies on agammaglobulinemia. II. Failure of plasma cell formation in the bone marrow and lymph nodes of patients with agammaglobulinemia.
        J. of Lab. & Clin. Med. 46:167-181, August, 1955.
      4. Good, R.A.: Morphological basis of the immune response and hypersensitivity.
        In: Host-Parasite Relationships in Living Cells (H.M. Felton, et al., eds.). Springfield, Illinois, Charles C. Thomas, 1957, pp. 78-160.
      5. Good, R.A.: The Minnesota Scene: A crucial portal of entry to modern cellular immunology.
        In: The Immunological Revolution: Facts and Witnesses. (A. Szentivanyi and H. Friedman, eds.), University Presses of Florida, Boca Raton, 1993, p125.
    3. Demonstrated that bone marrow transplantation in mice may be regularly used to completely correct immunodeficiency, caused by fatal irradiation, without producing graft vs. host disease, if the bone marrow is first purged of all post-thymic committed cells. Both immunocompetent T cells and immunoincompetent T-cell precursors must first be removed. In collaboration with Reisner, Kapoor and O’Reilly, Good successfully applied this principle to correct severe combined immunodeficiency disease of humans using marrow from mismatched haploidentical parental donors. Thus far, several hundred children, suffering from severe combined immunodeficiencies, have already been cured by marrow transplants from mismatched parental donors. In these experiments, the post-thymic cells were removed from the marrow inoculum by different agglutination and centrifugation procedures based on the lectin separation techinique derived in his laboratory, from the experimental method developed by Reisner and Sharon (1980-1981).
    4. Along with others around the world, Good has shown that marrow transplantation using his matched sibling donor methodology can be used to treat successfully and provide normal life for patients suffering from some 60 genetically determined, or acquired, lethal diseases. With the discovery of the means to avoid graft vs. host disease, this form of cellular engineering will certainly be extended to many other diseases (1968-1981).
    5. From investigations with his German and Japanese students, Wustow, Onoe, Ikehara and Jyonouchi, and along with Kincade and Fernandes, Good has shown that bone marrow transplantation both within and across major histocompatibility barriers can be used as a means of introducing resistance genes against leukemia, and as the means to correct completely genetically based immunologic abnormalities in autoimmune-prone NZB mice, These laboratory studies have engendered new views of major diseaes which can be approached by bone marrow transplantation as a form of cellular engineering (1980-1991).
    6. Beginning shortly after the initial experiments of Billingham, Brent and Medawar, Good and colleagues have made, and continue to make, extensive studies of the bases of immunologic tolerance and strategies for producing immunologic tolerance experimentally (1955-1991).
  2. Nutrition
    1. In studies extending over a 20-year period, Good, his students and their younger colleagues, have made major contributions to analyses of the influence of nutrition and individual nutriments on immune function and on the development of immunologically based disease. Among the most important contributions of this work has been the definitive analysis of the crucial role of zinc in thymic function and in the development and maintenance of immunologic functions of both T and B cells. He has shown that by reduced calorie an fat intake, it is possible to double and even triple life span in short-lived autoimmune-prone mice and to prevent the immunologic involution that occurs with age in these animals. Using diets high in saturated fat, Good has produced striking models of artherosclerosis and arteriosclerosis in autoimmune-prone mice but not in autoimmune-resistant mice (1969-1971).
    2. Good and colleagues have analyzed the molecular biology, cellular biology and virology of the basis of dietary influence on the development of breast cancer in mice and in humans (1972-1991).
  3. Immunologic Renal Disease
    1. Good, and colleagues Farquhar and students Worthen, Vernier, Michael and Drummond, launched the immunologic dissection and analysis of the renal diseases of man (1957-1967).
  4. Latent Virus Infection and Retrivuruses
    1. Discovered that Herpes simplex virus can be activated from the latent state by immunologic challenge accompanied by anaphylactic shock (1945-1948).
    2. With his co-worker Day and their students, he has discovered and analyzed the immunosuppressive actions of retroviruses and has shown that viral components may exert immunosuppressive influences (1962-1991).
  5. Good's Syndrome (thymoma with immunodeficiency)
    1. Iis a rare cause of combined B and T cell immunodeficiency in adults. The clinical characteristics of Good's syndrome are increased susceptibility to bacterial infections with encapsulated organisms and opportunistic viral and fungal infections. The most consistent immunological abnormalities are hypogammaglobulinanemia and reduced or absent B cells.
    2. The association between the presence of a thymoma and immunodeficiency was first recognized in 1954 by Dr. Robert Good1, who described a case of thymoma and hypogammaglobulinanemia in an adult.
    3. Good, RA. " Agammaglobulinanemia-a provocative experiment of nature".
      Bulletin of the University of Minnesota 1954;26:1-19

The Thymus Letter

The story of the events that led to the demonstration, by Good, et al. of the crucial role played by the thymus in mammalian immunity.

By Diana Pickett, MD, PhD

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Phylogeny & Ontogeny

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Number of Papers PublishedNumber of Papers Published by Dr. Robert A. Good

A chart depicting the history of papers published, their subject matter, and place of publication.

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The Scientific Contributions of Robert A. Good
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