Tuesday, January 15, 2008

In Memoriam: Dr. Judah Folkman

Scott Allen at the Boston Globe and White Coat Notes reports on the death of Dr. Judah Folkman, a legendary researcher at Boston Children's Hospital. The fact that, as of this writing, 63 comments from the public were submitted to the online version of this report gives a sense of how this gentleman was regarded in Boston and beyond. Please read them for a sense of his widespread impact.

Our condolences go to Paula and her family and all of Judah's many friends.


Anonymous said...


Many thanks for pointing out the comments on the White Coat notes posting on Dr. Folkman's death. They are a stunning and moving testament to his life and humanity. Remarkable to see comments from such a diverse range of people whose lives he touched.


e-Patient Dave said...

The Kidney Cancer Association has a special place in my heart. President William Bro posted this today on the kidney cancer listserv on ACOR.org. (Angiogenesis is one of the most important areas of research in kidney cancer, especially in the vast majority of cases that don't respond to HDIL-2 treatment.)


Judah Folkman, M.D., director of the vascular biology program at Children’s Hospital Boston and the Andrus professor of pediatric surgery and professor of cell biology at Harvard Medical School, died suddenly January 14, 2008. He was 74.

Internationally renowned as a pioneer in the field of angiogenesis research, Dr. Folkman’s landmark discovery that cutting off a cancerous tumor’s blood supply inhibited its growth and ability to spread revolutionized cancer treatment. Dr. Folkman's laboratory was the first to purify angiogenic protein from a tumor, basic research which led to the discovery of the first angiogenesis inhibitors and ultimately to clinical trials of anti-angiogenic therapy. Today, angiogenesis inhibitors such as Avastin, Tarceva and Macugen have received FDA approval in the U.S. and similar regulatory approval in 27 other countries for the treatment of cancer and/or macular degeneration. Dr. Folkman's research provides a firm scientific foundation for the pursuit of anti-angiogenic therapy, not only for the treatment of cancer, but for many non-neoplastic diseases.

“Judah Folkman’s passing is a tremendous and tragic loss for humankind,” said AACR Chief Executive Officer Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.). “In addition to his brilliant and distinguished cancer research career, Judah was highly regarded by the cancer community as a supportive mentor, a dedicated teacher, and esteemed colleague. His legacy of discovery and ingenuity in the field of angiogenesis will continue to inspire cancer researchers and give hope to countless individuals living with the disease. He was certainly a valued friend of the AACR and we extend our deepest condolences to the Folkman family.”

An active member of the American Association for Cancer Research since 1990, Dr. Folkman served as an associate editor of two AACR journals, Cancer Research (1990 – 2000) and Clinical Cancer Research (1999 – 2002). He was the 1985 recipient of the AACR- G.H.A. Clowes Memorial Award in recognition of his outstanding accomplishments in cancer research. Dr. Folkman also demonstrated his commitment to cancer research philanthropy as a trustee of the AACR Foundation for the Prevention and Cure of Cancer.

Through his work with the AACR and through leadership and advisory positions with a host of prestigious scientific institutions and organizations such as the National Institutes of Health, The National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine and the American Pediatric Surgical Association, Dr. Folkman helped to define the field of cancer and biomedical research

Elliot Levine, Ph.D. said...

Judah Folkman was one of Science's remarkable human beings. No tribute can do justice to to his contributions as a scientist, visionary, mentor, colleague or human being. He embodied all the positive attributes of "Tikkun Olam" - bettering the world. He will be sorely missed but he will be remembered as a "blessing to the world".
Erev Shalom Judah.

Rhea said...

I worked at the Harvard Gazette for a period during Folkman's career and we reported on his research. He was a true innovator, the kind that doesn't come around very often. I was sad to hear of his death.

Greg Pawelski said...

Truly sad news for a great researcher, scientist and physician. Nobody believed Folkman that the growth of cancers could be stopped, even reversed, by blocking the tiny vessels that feed them blood. Over the years, however, he had survived peer rejection of his theory and gone on to develop drugs that did what he predicted they would do. His ideas will be greatly missed.