Dr. Folkman's War: Angiogenesis and the Struggle to Defeat Cancer. (Science News Books).
Robert Cooke. At the age of 34, Judah Folkman became the youngest chief of surgery at Boston's Children's Hospital, which also made him the youngest professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School. Even before then, Folkman created the first implantable heart pacemaker and the first implantable drug-delivery capsule. However, it's his work on blood vessels and tumors that may immortalize him. Oddly enough, Folkman's been vilified for aspects of his pursuit of a cancer cure based on the fact that tumors stimulate the growth of new blood vessels. The blood vessels in turn enable the tumor to grow, a process called angiogenesis. A tumor deprived of its own supply of blood can't grow larger than the tip of a pencil, Folkman surmises. Some of his ideas are so far from other researchers' that Folkman has turned to the private sector for funding and at times jeopardized his surgical career. Folkman's lab has developed angiogenesis inhibitors that are now in clinical trials. The potentially revolutionary anticancer drugs may also have a role against macular degeneration, heart disease, and arthritis. Cooke provides insights into the man, his research, and the politics involved in his pursuits against the grain of the research establishment. RH, 2001, 366 p., b&w plates, hardcover, $25.95.