By: Karen Spataro and Emily McKnight
In 1974, a young, unknown oncologist at Indiana University School of Medicine added an experimental drug to the chemotherapy regimen for testicular cancer. Seemingly overnight, he turned the world of research upside down, and a disease that was almost universally fatal became eminently curable.
Today, that same physician, Lawrence Einhorn, MD, Indiana University Distinguished Professor and professor of medicine, is being celebrated across the globe in honor of his 75th birthday. Surprised this morning with 75 cards from multiple countries, messages of gratitude from trainees, cancer survivors, families of former patients, and former and current colleagues flooded Dr. Einhorn’s desk. One former patient took to social media to express his gratitude to Dr. Einhorn for giving him a second chance at life:
You and your team have invented the chemotherapy protocol that moved the testicular cancer survival rate from 15% to over 90%. Driven, with passion and discipline (I remember: one week with your patients at the hospital and one week at IUMC researching and teaching), your name has become the gold standard for every urologist oncologist around the world, from NYC to Geneva to Tokyo.
One of the greatest gifts that life has given me was to be your direct patient. Obviously, for medical reasons, since you enabled me to get back to normal life and to see my two daughters becoming young adults. However, your impact was even more than that: your modesty, your humbleness, your empathy and appreciation for those who are close to you is inspiring. I have one picture framed in my home office, the one of a true role model who reminds me what focus, hard work and determination is all about.
At 75-years-young, Dr. Einhorn still exuviates the same passion for cancer research and saving lives. Only now, he is focused on finding a cure for the number-one cause of cancer death in America – lung cancer – which accounts for more deaths than prostate, breast and colorectal cancers combined. While he certainly has his work cut out for him, as the odds of surviving a lung cancer diagnosis are slim, Dr. Einhorn shows no signs of slowing down. The research world will continue to evolve, and more patients will get their second chance at life.
The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.