41-33 Gianni Bonadonna, 81, Pioneering Cancer Researcher

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Gianni Bonadonna, 81, Pioneering Cancer Researcher

Gianni Bonadonna, 81, a pioneering cancer researcher whose work focused on Hodgkin’s lymphoma and breast cancer, died Sept. 7.

His death was announced by the Istituto Nazionale Tumori of Milan.

Bonadonna research included the initial studies on the clinical efficacy of adriamycin (doxorubicin), epirubicin and bleomycin; a number of seminal trials on adjuvant and primary chemotherapy for high-risk breast cancer; as well as a combined modality for the treatment of Hodgkin’s disease—in 1972, he designed a new combination of drugs known as ABVD: adriamycin, bleomycin, vinblastine and dacarbazine.

In 1973, he designed and conducted the first clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy of the combination CMF (cyclophosphamide, methotrexate and fluorouracil) as postoperative adjuvant treatment for breast carcinomas at a high risk of relapse.

Bonadonna was born in Milan in 1934. He received his medical degree from the University of Milano in 1959. He did his fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center from 1961 to 1964.

He then joined the Istituto Nazionale Tumori, where he became director of the Division of Medical Oncology in 1976. In 1991, he was appointed head of the Department of Cancer Medicine in the same institution and associate professor at the School of Hematology of the University in Milan. Since 1999, he has been founder and president of the Fondazione Michelangelo.

As a visiting professor in several universities all over the world, Bonadonna received numerous awards, including the Laurea Honoris Causae in Medicine from University of Torino; the Medal of Honor from the American Cancer Society; the Distinguished Service Award for Scientific Achievement and the David Karnofsky award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology; and the Federation of European Cancer Societies’ Clinical Research Award.

As a tribute to his contributions in the field of breast cancer research, ASCO instituted the Gianni Bonadonna Breast Cancer Award and Lecture in 2007; presented annually to a researcher of merit in the field of breast cancer.

And in recognition of his research in Hodgkin’s lymphomas, the Committee of the International Symposium on Hodgkin’s lymphoma in Cologne officially instituted the Gianni Bonadonna Hodgkin’s Disease Award and Lecture.

He is the author of over 550 publications in the clinical oncology field and of books on medicine for lay people and of one book on the Sepoy Revolution in India.

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