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Remembering Martin D. Abeloff, MD

Remembering Martin D. Abeloff, MD

Martin D. Abeloff, MD, the chief oncologist and director of the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, died September 14, 2007, of leukemia. Dr. Abeloff, 65, an international authority on the treatment of breast cancer, was co-Editor-in-Chief of ONCOLOGY and founding Editor-in-Chief of Oncology News International.

The Physician Everyone Wanted to Be

James Armitage, MD, co-Editor-in-Chief, ONCOLOGY, said "Marty was the physician everyone wanted to be."

Dr. Abeloff is remembered by his colleagues and friends across the globe for his characteristic humility, wry sense of humor, and extraordinary devotion to his patients, students, and the collaborative spirit he nurtured in his long tenure at Johns Hopkins. "Marty was that iconic Hopkins physician, scientist, educator, leader, and good citizen rolled into one," said Edward D. Miller, MD, Dean and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine. "He was there for his patients, his residents and fellows, his colleagues, and at so many challenging times, the institution he graced for so long."

Friend and Hopkins colleague Stephen Baylin, MD, deputy director of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, described Dr. Abeloff as the ultimate role model. "What he didn't know, he took the time to learn. And with a combination of qualities best summarized as wisdom, he helped transform both the treatment of cancer and the way that Johns Hopkins delivers that care. These are his legacies," Dr. Baylin said.

The Iconic Hopkins Leader

Dr. Abeloff received his medical degree from Johns Hopkins in 1966. After residency and fellowship training in Boston's Beth Israel Hospital and Tufts-New England Medical Center, he returned to Johns Hopkins for an oncology fellowship. He joined the Hopkins oncology faculty in 1972, focusing on lung and breast cancer research, then headed the medical oncology department before directing the entire cancer center.

During his 15-year tenure as Cancer Center director, Dr. Abeloff doubled the size of the center's faculty, increased research funding sixfold, and saw it consistently ranked among the nation's top three cancer centers in US News & World Report surveys.

Dr. Abeloff served as president of ASCO, chair of the ASCO Ethics Committee, and chairman of the FDA Oncology Drugs Advisory Committee. This past June Dr. Abeloff was honored by ASCO's Distinguished Service Award for Scientific Achievement.

Giant in Medical Oncology

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