Cancer Pioneer Folkman Dead

Revolutionized treatment by cutting off blood supply to tumors
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 16, 2008 7:42 AM CST
OVIEDO, SPAIN: US doctor Judah Folkman (L) receives the Technical and Scientific Research Prince of Asturias Award from Spain's Prince of Asturias Felipe de Borbon (R), 22 October 2004, in the northern...   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Cancer researcher Judah Folkman, whose insights and tenacity spawned a whole new branch of oncology, died Monday at age 74, the Boston Globe reports. Folkman pioneered the notion that cancer tumors could be halted if their blood supply was cut off; he persevered despite decades of skepticism in the field and research setbacks. The work led to the creation of several successful drugs, most notably Avastin, and there are many more in the pipeline.

"If your idea succeeds, everybody says you're persistent," Folkman liked to joke. "If it doesn't succeed, you're stubborn." After graduating from Harvard Medical School and serving in the Navy, the free-thinking and often controversial Folkman spent most of his career at Children's Hospital in Boston, where in later years he mentored a new generation of researchers. “The controversies are minor,” said a longtime colleague. “The point is, he made the field.”