‘The world has lost a bright light’

Celebrated United States cancer researcher Judah Folkman, who demonstrated the link between blood-vessel growth and tumours becoming malignant, died on January 14 at 74 of an apparent heart attack, the Boston hospital where he worked said.

Folkman was a professor of medicine at Harvard University and directed the vascular biology programme at Children’s Hospital Boston, in Massachusetts.

Children’s Hospital Boston said he died in Denver, Colorado, while en route to Vancouver, Canada, to give a lecture.

Folkman pioneered research into angiogenesis — involving how new blood vessels grow from existing ones — and its link to the transformation of benign tumours to malignant.

His work led to the development of drugs like Avastin, which fight cancer by inhibiting angiogenesis, preventing blood from getting to the tumour.

“As a result of Dr Folkman’s vision and resilience, more than 10 new cancer drugs are currently on the market, and more than 1,2-million patients worldwide are now receiving anti-angiogenic therapy,” the hospital said.

“The world has lost a bright light, but his contributions live on in the thousands of researchers he mentored, new treatments that his work spawned, and patients for whom he always deeply cared and to whom he gave so generously of his time and knowledge,” said Children’s Hospital Boston chief executive James Mandell. — AFP

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