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Stanford Oral History Collections

Merigan, Thomas C.
Merigan, Thomas C.
Merigan, Thomas C. and Richter, Ruthann
Corporate Author:
Stanford Historical Society
Thomas C. Merigan discusses his upbringing and education in the San Francisco Bay Area (Berkeley and UCSF) and his practice in infectious disease at Stanford, which spanned 45 years, including many years as chair of the infectious disease division of the Department of Medicine. He introduced the use of human interferon into the United States in the late 1970s as a treatment for viral diseases. He was also involved in interferon trials for the treatment of cancer and multiple sclerosis. Merigan later became an expert in HIV/AIDS, taking care of patients at a time when the options were few. He saw many patients die of the disease before therapy began working. He founded the Center for AIDS Research and ran the AIDS Clinical Trial Unit at Stanford, which was involved in developing a number of promising new treatment options and diagnostic strategies. These drugs and diagnostics became the mainstay of AIDS treatment. Merigan also testified several times before Congress on the needs for science funding. Merigan discussed his most famous patient – Pope John Paul II. He was called in to treat the Pope following an infection associated with an assassination attempt in 1981. The Pope had developed an infection with cytomegalovirus following multiple blood transfusions; Merigan was a preeminent expert then in CMV treatment, so he was called to the Vatican to treat the pontiff.
Tom Merigan, Stanford Historical Society, oral histories, interviews, gene therapy, National Institutes of Health, and Stanford Prevention Research Center
February 2, 2015 - February 22, 2015
Stanford Historical Society Oral History Program interviews, 1999-2012