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The Oncologist Pays Tribute to Dr. Judah Folkman
Date:2/27/2008

Pioneering Discoveries Led to Angiogenesis-Inhibiting Drugs for Cancer

Treatment

DURHAM, N.C., Feb. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- The February issue of The Oncologist presents a special tribute to the late Judah Folkman, M.D. -- a legendary surgeon and researcher whose scientific insight led to the development of an entirely new class of drugs for the treatment of cancers.

Dr. Folkman was best known for his work in discovering the importance of new blood vessel formation -- a process called angiogenesis -- for the growth of cancers. His discoveries led to the development of medications called angiogenesis inhibitors, which today are among the most promising new cancer treatments. At the time of his death in January, Dr. Folkman was the Julia Dyckman Andrus Professor of Pediatric Surgery and professor of cell biology at Harvard Medical School, and Director of the Vascular Biology Program at Children's Hospital Boston.

In this month's special tribute, leading scientists and physicians share recollections honoring Dr. Folkman's scientific vision, energy, and compassion. Their essays highlight Dr. Folkman's determination in his twenty- year fight against disbelief in the possibilities of anti-angiogenesis treatment for cancer. "He was patient and persevered on the road to his goal, never neglecting the rules of good science," writes Dr. H.M. Pinedo of VUmc Cancer Center, Amsterdam.

Today, more than one million patients have received some form of angiogenesis inhibitor therapy, estimates Dr. Bruce Chabner of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, and Editor-in-Chief of "The Oncologist." In addition, over a thousand laboratories are working to explore the concept further. Future research will help to clarify the best uses of angiogenesis inhibitor therapy, and to develop new medications that are more effective and safer -- and perhaps one day, useful in preventing cancers in patients at high risk.

The essayists also honor Dr. Folkman's valued skills as an educator and lecturer -- his frequent talks at scientific meetings were greeted with standing-room-only crowds and standing ovations, writes Dr. Pinedo. Dr. John E. Niederhuber, Director of the National Cancer Institute, recalls Dr. Folkman's dedication and insight as a member of the National Cancer Advisory Board: "Everyone knew that this distinguished, quiet man spoke only when there was truly something to say." Dr. C. Everett Koop, former U.S. Surgeon General, offers a tribute from the unique perspective of a former surgical tutor to Dr. Folkman.

In addition to honoring his scientific achievements, each of the authors pays tribute to Dr. Folkman's human qualities -- especially his dedication to his patients, students, professional colleagues, and family. Dr. Koop concludes, "No scientific discovery can eclipse Judah Folkman the man: creative and innovative pediatric surgeon, healer in the broadest sense of the word, compassionate physician."

The special tribute appears in the February issue of "The Oncolgist," and is available online at: http://theoncologist.alphamedpress.org/cgi/content/full/13/2/205.

About AlphaMed Press

AlphaMed Press publishes the internationally renowned journals, "Stem Cells" and "The Oncologist." "Stem Cells," now in its 26th year, is the oldest and one of the world's top-tier peer-reviewed monthly journals in the fast-paced area of stem cells and regenerative medicine. "The Oncologist," in its 13th year, is a premier peer-reviewed monthly journal dedicated to physicians entrusted with the care of cancer patients. View AlphaMed Press journals at http://www.alphamedpress.org.

Contact: George Kendall: 919-680-0011, GKendall@alphamedpress.com.


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