Internationally Known Scientist Beatrice Mintz Named to Fox Chase Cancer Center's Newest Endowed Chair in Basic Science
PHILADELPHIA (June 26, 2002)-Fox Chase Cancer Center recently celebrated first-time appointments to three new faculty chairs, each endowed with gifts totaling $1.5 million. Beatrice Mintz, Ph.D., of Elkins Park, Pa., internationally renowned for her research in cellular and developmental biology, fills the newest chair in basic science, the Jack Schultz Endowed Chair.
"This endowment represents gifts from some 30 donors and commemorates a man with lasting influence on science here at Fox Chase Cancer Center and indeed around the world," said Fox Chase board chairman Philip E. Lippincott in announcing the new chair.
Jack Schultz, Ph.D., was a key geneticist at Fox Chase's Institute for Cancer Research from the time he joined the staff in 1943 until his death in 1971. Among other things, he is remembered as a mentor to many other now-acclaimed scientists, including Dr. Mintz, who worked with Schultz at Fox Chase during his final years.
"Dr. Mintz has been at the forefront of developmental genetics for more than 40 years," said Fox Chase president Robert C. Young, M.D., at a special coffee celebrating the new chairs. "Like Schultz himself, she is an iconoclastic thinker.
"Bea began overturning the once-accepted views of developmental biology by demonstrating that the pattern of early development is flexible. A pioneer in genetic engineering, Bea has studied early development through many novel experiments. Along the way she developed several different ways to produce transgenic mice.
"The creation of transgenic mice-which carry altered genes of their own or another species- was a long-sought goal in biology," Dr. Young explained. "Today transgenics are unique and invaluable research tools for scientists trying to understand how genes work and why disordered development leads to birth defects, cancer, heart disease or diabetes."
Most recently, Mintz and her colleagues have developed new strains of mice with a genetic predisposition to melanoma. They allow scientists to analyze the underlying mechanisms of melanoma, the fastest-increasing cancer among American young people.
Among the old scientific assumptions successfully challenged by Mintz "was the idea that malignant cells are irreversibly abnormal," Young said. "Bea's work has sparked great interest in the idea that a cancer might be cured by inducing the stem cells to develop normally.
"She has proposed a view of cancer as a developmental defect, in which developing stem cells may malfunction and produce tumors instead of normal tissue. She is pursuing this idea in her current work on melanoma, attempting to understand the developmental progression of the disease as a basis for new treatments."
Mintz' long list of honors includes membership in the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, the first Genetics Society of America Medal in 1981, Germany's first Ernst Jung Gold Medal for Medicine in 1990, the first March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology in 1996 and the American Cancer Society's national Medal of Honor for Basic Research in 1997.
Mintz earned her Ph.D. at the University of Iowa. She then served on the University of Chicago faculty and held a Fulbright Research Scholarship to study at the universities of Paris and Strasbourg before coming to Fox Chase in 1960.
Fox Chase Cancer Center, one of the nation's first comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute in 1974, conducts basic and clinical research; programs of prevention, detection and treatment of cancer; and community outreach. For more information about Fox Chase activities, visit the Center's web site at www.fccc.edu.
Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase also was among the first institutions to receive the National Cancer Institute’s prestigious comprehensive cancer center designation in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has achieved Magnet status for excellence three consecutive times. Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research and oversees programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach. For more information, call 1-888-FOX-CHASE (1-888-369-2427).