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Endowed Professorships Honor Medical Center Research/Physicians

Dr. Malcolm R. Bagshaw, professor and chairman of radiation oncology at Stanford University Medical Center, has been named the first occupant of an endowed professorship honoring pioneer radiation oncologist Dr. Henry S. Kaplan.

Bagshaw, a 32-year Stanford faculty veteran, has become The Henry Kaplan-Harry Lebeson Professor in Cancer Biology in the School of Medicine. Bagshaw, internationally renowned for his use of radiotherapy to treat cancer of the prostate, formerly occupied another endowed professorship, The Catherine and Howard Avery Professor in the School of Medicine. That chair will now be held by Dr. Sarah Donaldson, professor of radiation oncology, a noted researcher and clinician in the field of childhood cancer.

Bagshaw, who received the Medal of Honor from the American Cancer Society in 1984, graduated from Yale University Medical School in 1950. During the 1960s while at Stanford, Bagshaw initiated a clinical research program to study non-selective hypoxic sensitizers, medication which sensitizes cells low in oxygen to the effects of radiation treatment.

He has also been instrumental in correlating laboratory research in hyperthermia (the use of heat to assist radiation treatment to kill cancer cells) with extensive clinical observations, thereby establishing the treatment program as one of the few in hyperthermia with a strong scientific base.

Both Bagshaw and Donaldson's endowed professorships were approved Sept. 17 by the University Board of Trustees.

Kaplan, who died in 1984, was an internationally recognized cancer researcher and clinician who pioneered the use of the linear accelerator for medical purposes and helped develop the aggressive treatment program that turned Hodgkin's disease in the 1960s from a fatal form of cancer to a disease that is curable in more than 85 percent of cases.

Lebeson is a retired industrialist, philanthropist and father of Leah Kaplan, Henry's wife and currently Stanford University Ombudsman. In 1987, Lebeson completed the funding of the chair, which is intended to be linked to the chairmanship of radiation oncology.

Donaldson, who joined the faculty in 1973, is a 1968 graduate of Harvard Medical School. Her laboratory interests are in the effects of radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and combined therapy on normal organs and tissues. Her research has led to findings that can successfully streamline cancer treatment for children, thus improving the young patients' quality of life.

Her research and clinical interests are unusually broad ranging, since they encompass two disciplines, radiation therapy and pediatric oncology. In October she becomes the president of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology.

The Avery professorship was established by gifts from the Averys in 1983, when Bagshaw became the first holder. Howard Avery, is a retired decorated Navy captain and Stanford alumnus. Catherine Avery, was interested in the support of cancer research, a malady she had suffered from for many years before her death in 1981.


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