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RayK

Dr. Judah Folkman

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This is in praise of Dr. Judah Folkman and his efforts against cancer.

In 1961 Dr. Folkman began his research into agiogenesis while working at the Navy Medical Research Institute in Bethesda. At this time he noticed that cancer cells would not grow without new blood vessels to feed them. At this time he did not have the technological advancements to see what was the cause of growth. He later named this fluid agiogenesis factor, for its growth of blood vessels.

This discovery led him into new territory because he was neither a cancer specialist nor a medical researcher but a surgeon. This also brought about much disdain and ridicule from all three fields. But, Dr. Folkman new that he had come upon a key to cancer cells and was not going to stop.

Thirty years worth of reserach and many battles later he comes up with anti-angiogenesis. The trials began in the early 1990's with amazing results in the fight against cancer. As of now I think the FDA has approved two forms of use for cancer patients.

His fight against cancer started with his own mind as being capable of knowing reality and putting no one's reasoning capacity above his own. Thanks to Dr. Folkman, maybe someday soon traditional cancer treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy will be obsolete.

A cheer for mans mind and what man can accomplish!

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Not to detract from RayK's praise of this fascinating man, Judah Folkman, but Folkman has been the subject of controversy through much of his professional life. Folkman proved his critics wrong in regard to endothelial cells (the cells that make up the inside of blood vessels) in the early 1970s, and again in the mid-1980s about fibroblast growth factor (a growth factor that stimulates the proliferation of many cell types). His latest battle lies with systemic gene therapy with endosatin for treating cancer, which for several reasons was seriously called into question in several articles just a few years ago. It remains to be seen if Folkman can yet again rise from controversy and prove his critics wrong. There is a nice little book detailing Folkman's struggles, although it is not completely up-to-date: Dr. Folkman's War: Angiogenesis and the Struggle to Defeat Cancer, Robert Cooke, Random House, 2001.

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