Dr. Judah Folkman (1933-2008) was the founder and pioneer of the field of angiogenesis research and recognized as one of the leading scientific figures of our time. He was a remarkable surgeon, scientist, teacher, and visionary.
Dr. Folkman’s pioneering research on tumor angiogenesis, begun in the 1960s, revolutionized our modern understanding of cancer and paved the way for the development of life-prolonging cancer therapies in use today. His vision inspired the creation of the Angiogenesis Foundation 20 years ago as a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the new field of medical angiogenesis. Dr. Folkman’s vision, mentorship and guidance will be greatly missed by those of us fortunate to have known and worked with him.
Dr. Folkman thrice served as a faculty member for the Angiogenesis Foundation, delivering keynote addresses alongside Nobel Laureates James Watson, Louis J. Ignarro, and H. Robert Horvitz, at the Foundation’s Annual International Antiangiogenesis Conference. He referred patients and friends to the Foundation for consultation, and quietly provided important guidance and encouragement to our organization. Dr. Folkman gave us his insights into challenges and opportunities he saw in the field; championed the Foundation’s mission to influential individuals and prospective donors; and donated books and manuscripts to our library. He publicly recognized the Foundation at major conferences before pre-eminent angiogenesis scientists and industry leaders. In 2003, the Angiogenesis Foundation honored Dr. Folkman with a Lifetime Scientific Achievement Award, presented to him by then Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
Dr. Folkman had the good fortune to witness the field he pioneered evolve into a major force in modern science and medicine. He lived to see his ideas from the laboratory translated into real, practical treatments that today are helping patients afflicted by cancer, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic wounds, and other serious diseases.
At the Angiogenesis Foundation, we are honoring Dr. Folkman’s memory and work by continuing our commitment to advance the field that he established, and by helping to realize his vision of angiogenesis as a unifying concept in 21st Century medicine.
William W. Li, M.D.
President and Medical Director, the Angiogenesis Foundation