On January 15, 2008 the groundbreaking cancer specialist Dr. Judah Folkman passed away. Dr. Folkman was responsible for the cancer treatment known as anti-angiogenesis.
Folkman had first theorized in the 1960s that blocking angiogenesis, the term given to blood vessel growth, would starve cancer tumors to death. The ideas were widely dismissed at the time, but came to the fore with the release of Genentech’s (DNA) Avastin, the first anti-angiogenesis drug to reach the market.
Dr. Folkman suffered a heart attack in the Denver airport en route to Vancouver to give a speech at a meeting on angiogenesis.
Folkman was never one to rest on his laurels. “He was always so generous with his time, he mentored so many,” says Dr. William Li, director of the nonprofit Angiogenesis Foundation in Boston. “He was one of the greatest scientific minds of our times.”