Transplant surgeon Satoru Todo is sitting in his tiny University of Pittsburgh office, wearing blue scrubs and singing the praises of Thomas E. Starzl, the neurologist and surgeon who leads the team that has developed FK-506, a drug that has been hailed as a breakthrough in preventing the rejection of transplanted organs.
"He is like a commander," Todo says cheerfully. "Or a dictator."
While such epithets might seem inappropriate in describing the inspirational force behind a harmoniously functioning and successful research effort, the members of Starzl's team claim they would have it no other way. A dictator's single-mindedness and a commander's resourcefulness were the characteristics needed to take FK-506 from test tube to bedside, they agree.
Starzl's team cuts across the usual department boundaries; immunologists, pharmacologists, transplant surgeons, and pathologists have all pooled their skills to make this powerful new agent a useful drug for humans. Starzl was responsible not...