Developing the micro test was the most important accomplishment

Transcripts available in the following languages:

Well, I suppose the micro test, developing the micro test was the most important thing I did. I often wondered that… See, I was maybe 35 years old, so why is it that I couldn’t do anything better after that? I had another 40 years and all during that time, I worked pretty hard. And how come I couldn’t do anything better than that? Somehow I guess I didn’t. Maybe it’s true in a lot of people that when they’re young, they’re able to do the thing that maybe can’t do when they’re older.

So the five years before that, I think I really worked the hardest in my life—that was after coming back from England and trying to develop the tests. So working those 18 hour days, I was finally able to make the micro tests. And the micro test allowed the development of the HLA field—typing of transplant patients, standardizing HLA1.

For example, we standardized why sharing cells through out the world couldn’t be done without the micro test. So even though the micro tests today are replaced by DNA technology, it was critical for the early development of this field. And we couldn’t have, in one step, jumped to the DNA even if the knowledge was there.

So I feel that maybe that was the best I did. And well, I’m happy that I had the chance to do that.

1. HLA is the acronym for human leukocyte antigen, a genetic maker found on cells of the body that determine white blood cell types. The HLA system is used to assess tissue compatibility for organ transplantation and platelet transfusion. There are over ten thousand HLA types.

Date: February 10, 2004
Location: California, US
Interviewer: Gwenn M. Jensen
Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum.

doctors medicine

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