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Nobelist Baruch S. Blumberg, MD, PhD, Dies at 85

Blumberg Won the 1976 Nobel Prize in Medicine for His Discovery of the Hepatitis B Virus

Baruch S. Blumberg, MD, PhD

Baruch S. Blumberg, MD, PhD

PHILADELPHIA, PA (April 7, 2011) – Baruch S. Blumberg, MD, PhD, winner of the 1976 Nobel Prize in Medicine and longtime Fox Chase faculty member, died of an apparent heart attack Tuesday, April 5, 2011, shortly after delivering a keynote address at a NASA conference in California.

Dr. Blumberg, known to many as Barry, came to Fox Chase Cancer Center in 1964 and served as associate director for clinical research at the Institute for Cancer Research, a position he held until 1986. He was vice president for Population Oncology from 1986-1989 and served his most recent position as senior advisor to the president since 1989.

“Barry was a much-valued friend and colleague for many at Fox Chase, and he will be greatly missed,” says Michael V. Seiden, MD, PhD, president and CEO of Fox Chase.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1925, Blumberg earned his BS in physics at Union College in Schenectady in 1946 and for a year did graduate work in mathematics at Columbia University. He received his MD from Columbia's College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1951. He then went on to become associate director for clinical research and senior member at Fox Chase.

Blumberg was a celebrated staff member at Fox Chase. He was awarded the 1976 Nobel Prize in medicine for his 1967 discovery of the hepatitis B virus and he has received many subsequent honors, including election to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

“I think it’s fair to say that Barry prevented more cancer deaths than any person who’s ever lived,” Jonathan Chernoff, PhD, chief scientific officer at Fox Chase, told reporters. 

Dr. Blumberg married his loving wife, Jean, in1954. They had four children, Anne, Jane, George, Noah, and nine grandchildren.


Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the 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 was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

Media inquiries only, please contact Diana Quattrone at 215-728-7784.

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