Dr. Robert P. Gale '66, L.H.D.'87

Leukemia and bone marrow disorders expert; Noted humanitarian and author

Leukemia and bone marrow disorders expert; Coordinated medical relief efforts for victims of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Accident; Noted humanitarian and author

Leukemia and other bone marrow disorders (such as aplastic anemia) have been the central theme of Gale's basic scientific and clinical research for over 30 years. 

From 1973-1993, Gale was on the faculty of the UCLA School of Medicine in the Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology and Oncology where he focused on the molecular biology, immunology and treatment of leukemia. He also developed and headed the bone marrow transplant program supported by grants and contracts from the U.S. National Institute of Health. 

From 1980-1997, Gale was Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the International Bone Marrow Transplant Registry, an organization of more than 300 transplant centers in over 40 countries working together to analyze and advance knowledge about bone marrow transplants. Since 1989, Gale was a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Autologous Blood and Marrow Transplant Registry. Also since 1989, Gale has been Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Center for Advanced Studies in Leukemia, a charity funding innovation leukemia research. From 1986-1993, Gale was President of the Armand Hammer Center for Advanced Studies in Nuclear Energy and Health, a foundation supporting research on medical aspects of nuclear issues. 

From 1993-1999, Gale was senior physician and corporate director of bone marrow and stem cell transplantation at Salick Health Care, Inc. in Los Angeles where he developed a national transplant program. He was also responsible for developing cancer treatment guidelines (in collaboration with colleagues) and for examining medical aspects of managed cancer care.

He and his colleagues have contributed to understanding the molecular biology and immunology of leukemia. While at the Weizmann Institute of Science, he and Eli Canaani molecularly cloned the gene responsible for chronic myelogenous leukemia. Gale has also extensively studied the immunology of leukemia in animals and humans (with Kenneth Food). While at Rockefeller University, he and Anna Butturini unraveled genetic aspects of leukemia-risk in Fanconi anemia. His interest and expertise in radiation biology stems from its causality of leukemia in humans and parallels between radiation-induced bone marrow failure and aplastic anemia. In the clinical research forum, Gale and his colleagues developed new drug-based therapies for acute myelogenous leukemia and studied efficacy of supportive care interventions (with Drew Winston and Winston Ho) including antibiotics, antifungals, granulocyte transfusions and molecularly-cloned hemotopoietic growth factors. He has also extensively analyzed treatment strategies in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (with Anna Butturini and Dieter Hoelzer) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (with Kenneth Food and Kanti Rai). Gale has also been active in aplastic anemia research and the relationship between bone marrow failure and leukemia in human models of this relationship (like Fanconi anemia) and in leukemia epidemiology. 

Gale has contributed greatly to the basic science and clinical research in bone marrow transplantation where he (with Anna Butturini) made central contributions to understanding the immune-mediated anti-leukemia effects of transplants (graft-versus-leukemia). He has also helped understand other complex immune effects of transplants in humans, like graft-versus-host disease and post-transplant immune deficiency. He has worked extensively on alternate sources of hematopoietic stem cells including fetal liver transplants (with Richard Champlin). Increasingly, Dr. Gale has focused on issues of clinical trials design, implementation and analysis and in the use of observational databases and group consensus processes (with Ed Park and Robert Dubois) to determine effective cancer treatments. 

Gale is widely recognized for his humanitarian activities. In 1986, he was asked by the Soviet Union to coordinate medical relief efforts for victims of the Chernobyl nuclear accident. In 1987, he was asked by Brazil to coordinate medical relief efforts for a radiation accident in Goiania. In 1988, he was part of the U.S. medical emergency team sent in the aftermath of the earthquake in Armenia. He has also been a war observer for the governments of Croatia and Armenia and a medical consultant to Tartarstan. He is special consultant to the UN Emergency Disaster Relief Organization proposed by the Soviet Union. Dr. Gale has received several awards for his humanitarian activities including the Olender Peace Prize, City of Los Angeles Humanitarian Award and Myasthenia Gravis Foundation Humanitarian Award.

Gale's public service includes giving expert testimony to several U.S. Congressional Committees on health policy issues, consultation for U.S. Public Health Service, Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHPCR), the Task Force on Neurosciences of the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment, and the California Senate Task Force on Emergency Medical Response for Nuclear Accidents. He heads the California Radiation Emergency Screening Team.

Gale has published over 800 scientific articles and more than 20 books, mostly on leukemia (biology and treatment), transplantation (biology, immunology and treatment), cancer immunology and radiation (biological effects and accident response). He has written on medical topics, nuclear energy, and weapons and politics of U.S.-Soviet relations in articles for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal.

In addition to his academic publications, Gale has written popular books including one about Chernobyl and U.S. nuclear energy strategy. He frequently appears on TV news, and he received an Emmy for his work on a 60 Minutes special report. He has written parts of screenplays for and/or appeared in several movies including Final Warning (with Jon Voight), Fat Man and Little Boy (with Paul Newman) and City of Joy (with Patrick Swazy).

Gale has served on faculties of many universities including positions at The Weizmann Institute of Science (Meyerhoff Visiting Scientist 1983-84) and Rockefeller University (Visiting Faculty 1990-92). Other visiting professorships include Academy of Medical Sciences-USSR, All-Union Cancer Center-USSR, Universities of Cape Town, Bologna, Michigan and Rome, Cornell University, Tokyo University, Tufts University, Uppsala University, Roswell Park Memorial Institution, The Sweedish National Radiation Protection Board, The UK Royal College of Physicians and The UK Royal Society of Pathology. 

Gale is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, a member of the Royal Society of Medicine and an honorary fellow of the Russian Academy of Medical Science. He is a Diplomat of the American Board of Internal Medicine in Internal Medicine, Hematology and Oncology.

He is also a member of several learned societies including The American Association of the Advancement of Science, American Association of Immunologists, American Federation for Cancer Research, American Federation for Clinical Research, American Society for Clinical Oncology, American Society of Hematology, International Society of Hematology, International Society of Experimental Hematology, New York Academy of Science, Royal Society of Medicine, Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine and the Transplantation Society, among others. Gale is on the editorial boards of several scientific journals including Bone Marrow Transplantation, Leukemia, Leukemia Research and reviews articles for many journals including the New England Journal of Medicine, the Lancet, Annals of Internal Medicine, JAMA, and the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Gale has received many awards for his scientific achievements and contributions including the Presidential Award, New York Academy of Science, Scientist of Distinction Award Weizmann Institute of Science and Intra-Science Research Foundationa Award. He holds honorary degrees including D.Sc. from Albany Medical College, L.H.D. from Hobart College and D.P.S. from MacMurray College.

Gale is active in Jewish affairs and is a speaker for the United Jewish Appeal and for other charities including the Weizmann Institute of Science, Hebrew University and Hadassah Hospital.

Gale lives in Los Angeles and has three children.

Contribution: Leukemia and bone marrow disorders expert. Coordinated medical relief efforts for victims of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Accident. Noted humanitarian and author.

College Activities: Dean's List, Yearbook, Herald Staff, Epsilon Pi Sigma (Science Honor Society)

Other Education: SUNY Buffalo, Buffalo, N.Y. (M.D., 1970), UCLA, Los Angeles, Calif. (Ph.D., 1976)