Emil J Freireich, MD, a trailblazing oncologist who developed groundbreaking therapies for childhood leukemia and came to be recognized as a founding father of modern clinical cancer research, passed away peacefully in Houston at his beloved institution, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, on Feb. 1. He was 93.
Known for his confidence, passion and occasional ferocity, Freireich was a faculty member of MD Anderson for 50 years, from 1965 to 2015. He led the Leukemia Research Program for decades, training hundreds of physicians and scientists who carried on his commitment to conquering cancer. His protocols helped establish the groundwork for randomized clinical trials, and he instituted many teaching programs for graduate students, fellows and faculty to drive progress in cancer research and treatment.
“Dr. Freireich was a giant of modern medicine whose impact on the field of cancer is beyond compare. His passing will be felt around the world and within the MD Anderson community,” said Peter WT Pisters, MD, president of MD Anderson. “For more than 60 years, he pushed boundaries and devoted himself to saving young lives and relieving suffering. Dr. Freireich’s compassion and empathy, with a focus on the holistic needs of individual patients, was fused with scientific creativity and perseverance. This rare blend of exceptional qualities has created a lasting legacy that will forever be part of the history of cancer research and that of MD Anderson.”
This is an excerpt of an article that was published in full in the Cancer History Project. Read the full article here.