Clinical immunology was established at the hospital with the appointment of Dr. Robert Orange as Head of the Division of Immunology in 1971. During his tenure at The Hospital for Sick Children, Dr. Orange’s work on mediators of inflammation had an significant impact on the emerging field of immunology.
Dr. Erwin Gelfand, who took over the leadership of the Division after Dr. Orange’s premature death, can be credited with the creation of a world-renowned research and clinical centre thanks to his work in complement deficiencies and fetal thymus transplantation. He also enhanced the horizons of the field by hiring a group of clinician-researchers with expertise in rheumatology.
Since Dr. Gelfand's departure in 1987, rheumatology has evolved into an independent division with the Division of Immunology and Allergy being merged into a single division in 1991 under the leadership of Dr. Chaim Roifman. Major achievements since that time include pioneering work in bone marrow transplants for patients who do not have a suitable donor in their family, exploration of the benefits of intravenous immune globulin for patients with immunodeficiency and autoimmunity, and groundbreaking research into the molecular and genetic bases of immune disorders.