"While at the NCI I was fortunate enough to publish several papers and will never forget the day when the phone rang and it was Don Thomas on the other end, asking me if I would possibly be interested in coming to Seattle to work with him," he said.
Appelbaum joined Thomas and colleagues at the Hutch in the late '70s and led the trials that defined the role of transplantation in the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), myelodysplasia and malignant lymphoma. He continues to study the biology of AML and mechanisms of drug resistance.
A national leader in the conduct of clinical trials
Beyond his own research, Appelbaum has been a national leader in the conduct of clinical trials. In 1980, as part of the Southwest Oncology Group, a cancer research cooperative, he formed the first multi-center bone marrow transplant clinical trials group. This concept eventually evolved into the federally funded Bone Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network, of which he is chair-elect. For more than 20 years Appelbaum served as chair of the SWOG Leukemia Committee, which designs and conducts clinical trials for leukemia.Appelbaum is past chair of the NCI Board of Scientific Advisors and has served on the boards of a number of scientific societies, including the American Society of Hematology, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) and the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (ASBMT). Currently he serves on the NCI Leukemia Steering Committee and on the advisory committees of many organizations, including Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Yale Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins Cancer Center, University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center, University of Michigan Cancer Center, University of California San Francisco Cancer Center and the AACR Stand Up to Cancer Scientific Advisory Committee. His honors and awards include election to the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society, the ASCO Statesman Award and the ASBMT's E.D. Thomas Lecture and Award.