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For Immediate Release: April 1, 2008
Association of Community Cancer Centers to Honor Pioneering Researcher Judah Folkman, MD
ROCKVILLE, Md.—Judah Folkman, MD, will be honored with the Association of Community Cancer Centers' Annual Achievement Award for his pioneering research in tumor angiogenesis and his lifelong commitment to the study and treatment of cancer. Dr. Folkman, who passed away suddenly January 14, 2008, at age 74, was professor of cell biology at Harvard Medical School and director of the Vascular Biology Program at Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. His discovery of how angiogenesis contributes to tumor growth led to clinical testing of numerous drug candidates aimed at preventing the formation of blood vessels that feed cancers.
Dr. Folkman was the author of 389 original peer-reviewed papers and 106 book chapters and monographs. He also held honorary degrees from 15 universities and was the recipient of numerous national and international awards. He had been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.
In 1971 Dr. Folkman published a seminal paper in the New England Journal of Medicine, proposing the hypothesis that all tumor growth is angiogenesis-dependent. This founded the field of angiogenesis research and opened a field of investigation now pursued by scientists in many fields worldwide. Dr. Folkman’s laboratory purified the first angiogenic protein from a tumor, discovered the first angiogenesis inhibitors, and initiated clinical trials of antiangiogenic therapy. Today, angiogenesis inhibitors have received FDA approval in the U.S. for cancer and for the treatment of macular degeneration and are also approved in 27 other countries. Largely because of Dr. Folkman's research, the possibility of antiangiogenic therapy is now on a firm scientific foundation, not only in the treatment of cancer, but of many non-neoplastic diseases as well.
Accepting the award on behalf of Dr. Folkman will be a colleague, Steven J. Fishman, MD. Dr. Fishman is co-director of the multidisciplinary Vascular Anomalies Center at Children’s Hospital Boston, and Stuart and Jane Weitzman Family Chair in Surgery. He has a particular focus on developing an understanding and approach to visceral vascular anomalies. Dr. Fishman is the secretary general of the International Society for the Study of Vascular Anomalies (ISSVA).