Father of Breakthrough Cancer Therapy Dies

From Scientific American:

Judah Judah Folkman, “the father of antiangiogenesis,” a way to starve tumors of their blood supplies, died yesterday from an apparent heart attack. He was 74 years old. Folkman, director of the Vascular Biology Program at Children’s Hospital Boston, served as the hospital’s surgeon in chief from 1967 to 1981. During his tenure, he published a groundbreaking article in The New England Journal of Medicine, suggesting that tumors require angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels (from established ones) to provide the nutrients their cells need to grow beyond a certain size. He had first had this insight in the 1960s when he was serving as a Navy surgeon and was tasked with developing a blood substitute that could be a lifesaver during combat. (At the time, it was cancer research dogma that tumors did not need new vessels to thrive.)

For much of the next two decades Folkman was treated as a pariah by his peers, who dismissed his theory outright. He was criticized whenever he announced a finding. To continue his unpopular research after all other funding sources dried up, he was forced to take a hefty sum—$23 million—from chemical company Monsanto. Convinced he was on the right track, he persevered in the face of adversity. By the mid-1990s the tide turned in his favor when researchers in his lab discovered that two natural proteins, angiostatin and endostatin, could effectively block angiogenesis.

More here.