Dr. Judah Folkman, a groundbreaking cancer researcher, died at the age of 74.
Folkman, the son of a rabbi, collapsed and died of an apparent heart attack at Denver International Airport while changing planes on the way to a medical conference in Canada.
A Harvard University professor and director of the vascular biology program at Children’s Hospital Boston, Folkman found a revolutionary new way of fighting cancer by cutting off the blood supply to tumors. Several successful cancer drugs are based on his approach.
The New York Times reported that Foxman, a Cleveland native, at about the age of 7 began visiting hospital patients with his father. The visits led Folkman to tell his father that he would rather be a doctor than a rabbi.
“So,” his father replied, “you can be a rabbi-like doctor.”
Folkman showed in 1998 that two drugs he developed to block blood flow to tumors killed cancer in mice, but other scientists could not duplicate his results. Improved versions of his drugs eventually did go on the market, but they were developed by other scientists.
Experts said those drugs might not exist but for Folkman’s work.