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James F Holland

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Profession  Physician
Specialism  Oncology

Name  James Holland
James F. Holland Mount Sinai Honors James F Holland MD FASCO on the Occasion of
Born  May 25, 1925 (age 90) (1925-05-25) Morristown, New Jersey
Education  Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
Institutions  National Cancer Institute, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Research  Combination chemotherapy

Notable prizes  Lasker Award, 1972

In Memoriam: James F. Holland, MD

James Frederick Holland (born May 25, 1925) is an American physician and Distinguished Professor of Neoplastic Diseases at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. He is a past president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American Association for Cancer Research. His 1953 clinical trial on acute leukemia resulted in the formation of Acute Leukemia Group B, a research collaboration that later became known as the Cancer and Leukemia Group B. He is considered a key figure in the development of cancer chemotherapy.


Early life

Holland was born in Morristown, New Jersey. He completed medical school at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and then served as a U.S. Army Medical Corps captain during World War II. Holland had secured a hospital job at Presbyterian Hospital in New York before the end of the war, but his tour of duty was extended and Presbyterian Hospital was unable to hold a position for him. Instead, he ended up at Francis Delafield Hospital, which had just opened as a cancer center. Though Holland was initially hoping that another slot would open up at Presbyterian, he found that he preferred to remain at a specialty cancer institution.


In 1953, while Holland was a researcher at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), he designed a clinical trial for the treatment of acute leukemia. The study examined the combined use of two chemotherapy drugs, methotrexate and mercaptopurine. The trial was still in progress the next year when Holland moved to the Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI). When the NCI's new chief of oncology, Gordon Zubrod, agreed to continue the trial, it became the first multicenter study of acute leukemia. Holland conducted further leukemia research with physicians from the NCI and the Children's Hospital of Buffalo. That research group received government funding for the study of chemotherapy. It became known as Acute Leukemia Group B (and later Cancer and Leukemia Group B).

Holland became a close associate of oncologist Emil "Tom" Frei. From the 1950s to the 1980s, either Holland or Frei chaired the CALGB. Holland-Frei Cancer Medicine became an influential oncology reference book; nine editions have been published. Holland, Frei and Emil Freireich later created another drug regimen for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in children. The combination of methotrexate, mercaptopurine, vincristine and prednisone – together known as the POMP regimen – produced sustained remission in these patients.

After leaving RPCI, Holland spent several months conducting cancer research in the Soviet Union. He joined the faculty at Mount Sinai in 1973. Oncologist Vincent DeVita has referred to Holland as "one of the founding fathers of cancer chemotherapy." DeVita said that Holland's work proved that combination chemotherapy had the potential to cure cancer. According to DeVita, Holland's influence ensured that childhood leukemia research received ongoing attention. Though acute leukemia had been considered incurable upon the formation of the CALGB, the ten-year cure rate for ALL had reached 50% by 1975.

Holland served as the president of two national cancer research organizations: the American Association for Cancer Research (1970–71) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (1976–78). He received the Albert Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research in 1972.


While he worked at RPCI, Holland met his wife, Jimmie C. Holland; she became a psychiatrist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Holland had a child before he met his wife, and they had five more children together. One of Holland's siblings, Thomas Holland, was an oncologist in Morristown. Holland's son Steven is the NIH Deputy Director for Intramural Clinical Research.


James F. Holland Wikipedia

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