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Charlotte Friend


FRIEND, CHARLOTTE (1921–1987), U.S. oncologist, microbiologist. Friend was born in New York City to parents who immigrated from Russia. She finished her undergraduate studies at Hunter College, New York, and upon graduating in 1943 she served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and was second in command of the hematology laboratory at the naval hospital in Shoemaker, California. In 1950, she received her Ph.D. from Yale University. After graduation she was hired by the director of the then new Sloan Kettering Institute and was an associate professor of microbiology until 1966 when she moved to Mount Sinai School of Medicine and was appointed professor of microbiology. She remained there until she died in 1987. Friend made many important contributions to cancer research. Her first discovery was that a leukemia could be induced experimentally by a virus now known as the Friend Leukemia Virus (FLV), which at the time was received with skepticism and hostility because until then there had been no known link between viruses and cancer. Friend paved the way for a great many avenues of research. Her demonstration of inducible differentiation of leukemic cells by DMSO has served as an inspiration for evaluating the potential of therapeutic effects of differentiation-inducing agents in human cancer. Friend was a woman of strong convictions and a fighter. She openly supported the blacklisted academics and dissidents even in the McCarthy and Nixon era. She believed in the State of Israel and was a fervent supporter of the women's movement. Charlotte Friend received many prizes and awards. In 1976 she was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

Sources:Leila Diamond, Biographical Memoirs.

[Bracha Rager (2nd ed.)]

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