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Lee Wattenberg, MD, known as the “father of chemoprevention,” died on December 9, 2014 at the age of 92. Dr. Wattenberg was a longtime faculty member at the University of Minnesota, where he served for more than sixty years. He was a professor of lab medicine and pathology at the University of Minnesota Medical School as well as a Masonic Cancer Center researcher.
Dr. Wattenberg was the first to discover that some compounds could effectively block the development of carcinogens in experimental animals. He coined the term “chemoprophylaxis” in his 1966 landmark manuscript in the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Journal, Cancer Research, in which he established cancer prevention as a compelling line of research. His work led to the study of the effects of diet on cancer prevention. He also investigated novel therapies to treat lung cancer patients, including the use of aerosols for drug delivery.
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