EHA remembers David Grimwade

 

The Hague, October 18, 2016

Today we received the sad message of the passing away of David Grimwade.

David Grimwade was Professor of Molecular Hematology in the Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics, King’s College London School of Medicine and Honorary Consultant Hematologist in Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation trust.


He had a substantial international reputation for his translational research, particularly in the field of acute promyelocytic leukaemia and lately was also greatly involved in the scientific activities of the European Hematology Association (EHA). He was an EHA board member from 2011-2015, and chaired the Scientific Program Committee of the 20th EHA Congress that took place in Vienna, Austria in 2015. Furthermore he chaired the Scientific Working Group Acute Myeloid Leukemia and was co-director of the Translational Research Training in Hematology.

The Board of EHA selected David Grimwade as the winner of the EHA Jean Bernard Life Time Achievement Award 2017, for his many contributions to the diagnosis and management of AML. This will be posthumously awarded during the Opening Ceremony of the 22nd Congress of EHA in Madrid, Spain in June of next year.

His research interests included the molecular pathogenesis of acute promyelocytic leukemia, identification of prognostic factors in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), characterizing mechanisms underlying leukemia-associated chromosomal translocations and evaluation of minimal residual disease (MRD) detection using quantitative PCR to direct treatment approach. He coordinated molecular diagnostics in the UK National Cancer Research Institute AML trials. He led the MRD Work package of the European LeukemiaNet, which comprises a network of 28 labs spread across 12 countries involved in development, optimization and standardization of quantitative PCR assays to improve the management of patients with myeloid malignancies.

In September 2015 David Grimwade was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. He was still part of the EHA family and in contact with many members of the Board and the Executive Office until very recently. Throughout his illness he was remarkably resilient, retaining his taste for floral shirts and a keen sense of humor. In answer to the question: “How would you like to be remembered” David immediately replied "As someone who carried on the family tradition of saying what they thought (and not worrying unduly about the consequences) and making a reasonable decision about what wine to order."*

He leaves behind his wife Frances Hildreth and two daughters Jemima and Imogen.

David will be dearly missed.

European Hematology Association 

Tony Green Pieter Sonneveld
Christine Chomienne
Christine Chomienne
EHA President         EHA President elect         EHA past President

*From BloodMed.com

 

Jonathan Licht, incoming co-Director TRTH 2017, Councillor of the ASH executive committee

"I was happy to have known David for nearly 20 years through the APL field, as he was among the first to characterize the PML-RAR fusion gene of APL and follow the fusion gene during therapy, detecting minimal residual disease and presaging a trend in molecular clinical oncology. At the ASH/EHA Translational Research Training Institute which he helped lead we were mentors of a small group of trainees and served on the oversight committee together. He was a pleasure to work with: sharp, insightful, patient and loved by the trainees and faculty. David’s work had a major impact on hematology in a number of ways. David was dedicated to patient care. I remember when he once helped us at Northwestern de-convolute a complicated molecular diagnosis of APL and analyzed specimens we sent. He made a real difference in the care of that patient and for society, his clinical studies demonstrated the impact of targeted therapies in APL. I remember his dedication to science and translation of findings, I enjoyed visiting his lab and meeting his enthusiastic students and his mentor Ellen Solomon. He continued his work through his illness, attending a scientific meeting as recently as a few weeks ago. I remember David’s sense of humor and the fun of being at the bar with him at TRTH at “apertivo” after a long day of classes as David Bodine and Ruud Dewel poured and poured the prosecco and beer. David was cheerful brave and even uplifting in the face of his illness. Last year at the TRTH he spoke about his battle with cancer, traveling back and forth for therapy in the midst of the meeting and even showing a picture of his tumor to the trainees and faculty in an after dinner talk. The talk highlighted his delight in discovery, love for his family and colleagues , love of sport and dedication to mentorship. I will miss him. Hematology will miss him."