Jump to Main Content


William Dameshek (1900-1969)

William Dameshek, MD

William Dameshek, MD, was the preeminent American clinical hematologist of his time. A polymath, his interests ranged from diseases of the blood to pre-Columbian statuettes. He was a lead investigator in the first-known multi-institutional trial of chemotherapy (nitrogen mustard for Hodgkin lymphoma). Dr. Dameshek pioneered in the treatment of immune thrombocytopenia with corticosteroids, introduced antimetabolite therapy for autoimmune diseases, developed the concepts of the myeloproliferative and lymphoproliferative disorders, and proposed that chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the result of a gradual accumulation of lymphocytes. He was the founder of Blood, an architect of the ѻý, and an organizer of the International Society of Hematology.

Dr. Dameshek was named Ze'ev at his birth in Voronezh, Russia. At the age of three, he was brought to the United States by his parents, who settled in Medford, Massachusetts, and renamed him William. An exceptional student at Boston's English High School (the oldest public high school in America), Dr. Dameshek went to Harvard College, and in 1923 he graduated from Harvard Medical School and married Rose (Ruddy) Thurman.