15 Facts About Judah Folkman


Moses Judah Folkman was an American medical scientist best known for his research on tumor angiogenesis, the process by which a tumor attracts blood vessels to nourish itself and sustain its existence.


Judah Folkman founded the field of angiogenesis research, which has led to the discovery of a number of therapies based on inhibiting or stimulating neovascularization.


Judah Folkman's father replied, "In that case, you can be a rabbi-like doctor," words his son took to heart.


Judah Folkman worked as an assistant surgeon at Boston City Hospital, then trained further in pediatric surgery at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia under C Everett Koop.


Judah Folkman was appointed the Julia Dyckman Andrus Professor of Pediatric Surgery at Harvard Medical School in 1968, where he was Professor of Cell Biology.


Judah Folkman was the youngest full Professor at Harvard Medical School in history.


Judah Folkman hypothesized that there was an unknown "factor" that tumors secreted to help it increase its blood supply, and that if that factor could be blocked, tumors would wither and die.


Around that time, the wife of a man who was dying of multiple myeloma and whom standard treatments had failed, called Judah Folkman asking him about his anti-angiogenesis ideas.


Judah Folkman convinced the patient's doctor to try thalidomide, and that doctor ended up conducting a clinical trial of thalidomide for people with multiple myeloma in which about a third of the subjects responded to the treatment.


Judah Folkman was a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society, among others.


In 2006, Judah Folkman was one of seven people appointed by President Bush to the National Cancer Advisory Board of the National Institutes of Health.


Judah Folkman was awarded the Massry Prize from the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California in 1997.


On May 29,1998, Judah Folkman received an honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Medicine at Uppsala University, Sweden.


Judah Folkman died of a heart attack in Denver on January 14,2008, at the age of 74 en route to deliver the 2008 Keynote Address at the Keystone Symposium in Vancouver, British Columbia.


Judah Folkman was survived by his wife, Paula, whom he met and married while doing his surgical residency, two daughters, and a granddaughter.