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Subject: Roy Hertz, Discoverer of a Cancer Treatment

He was 93
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Date Posted: October 31, 2002 5:58:42 EDT

Dr. Roy Hertz, who won an Albert Lasker Medical Research Award in 1972 for an early and remarkably effective drug treatment for a cancerous tumor, died on Monday at his home in Hollywood, Md.
Dr. Hertz and a co-researcher, Dr. Min Chiu Li, were cited for finding a treatment for choriocarcinoma, a highly malignant cancer arising in the placenta of pregnant women.

They reported the treatment in 1956, when Dr. Hertz was with the National Cancer Institute. Through the sequential use of two drugs, methotrexate and actinomycin-D, cures were achieved in up to 90 percent of women with choriocarcinoma who were treated by 1972; 90 percent of those who were not treated died within a year.

Dr. Hertz, who had an M.D. and a doctorate in physiology, was a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at New York Medical College in Valhalla in 1972. He worked at the National Institutes of Health from 1941 to 1966. Dr. Li was director of medical research at Nassau Hospital, now Winthrop-University Hospital, in Mineola, N.Y.

Dr. Hertz was born in Cleveland. He earned degrees in physiology and medicine from the University of Wisconsin and a master's in public health from Johns Hopkins.

He married Pearl Fennell in 1934. She died in 1962. In 1965, he married Dorothy Anne Wright Oberdorfer, who died on Oct. 17.

Surviving are 2 children from his first marriage, Margaret Brodkin of San Francisco and Jeremy of Sebastapol, Calif.; a stepson, Michael Oberdorfer of Dickerson, Md.; a stepdaughter, Barbara Verdin of Chesapeake Beach, Md.; 13 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren.

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