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A page in the Family Website for the following Family Names and their Descendents and Friends:

Garon - Kaner/Karon/Canner - Horwitz - Lieberman/Kremen –

Hertz - Fritchell - Tatkin - Pasternack/Poster




On May 3, 1954, Dr. Ira T. Nathanson lectured to

second-year students at the Harvard Medical School

on "The Natural History of Cancer," a subject on which

he was a great authority. He finished his lecture and

was leaving the amphitheater when he collapsed and

died. He died of coronary heart disease at the earlv age

of 49.

In spite of his comparative youth, Ira Nathanson

had established himself as an outstanding investigator

in cancer research and cancer surgery. He had one con

suming object in life—the conquest of cancer—and he

devoted his whole working life to this problem.

His boyhood was spent in the city of his birth, Vir

ginia, Minnesota, where he received his early training.

He was a bright scholar and an outstanding debater.

Later, he went on to study at the University of Penn

sylvania where he excelled academically and also par

ticipated in football. Following this, he attended North

western Medical School in Chicago where he received

an M.D. and M.S. degree, followed by 5 years of train

ing at the Michael R«eseHospital.

In 1934 and 1935 he was associated with the Pondville

Hospital in Massachusetts. It was at this time that

he was attracted to the work of the Collis P. Huntington

Memorial Hospital, particularly the research on the

relation of internal secretions to cancer. And so he came

to the Huntington Laboratories—this was to be his


He worked very hard as a surgeon, studying the

natural course of cancer and how it was influenced by

surgery and x-ray. And in addition to his work in sur

gery, he found time to analyze the activity of the inter

nal secretions of his patients. For years he went through

the arduous analyses, separating the sex hormones

chemically with the relatively crude methods of that

period. The laboratory was small, his technical help

limited, but his insatiable desire to accumulate data

drove him to work unceasingly. And gradually a greater

understanding emerged of the relation of the sex hor

mones to cancer of sex-linked organs.

Ira Nathanson's course was not one without inter

ruption. A bout with tuberculosis forced him to rest

for a period of 6 months. Surmounting it, he returned

to his work with renewed determination and intensified


When the Huntington Memorial Hospital moved to

the Massachusetts General Hospital in February 1942,

Dr. Nathanson, of course, came too. Insistent that he

was primarily a surgeon, he was attached to its surgical

service. In the intervening years, he became Associate

Clinical Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical

School, Associate Surgeon at the Massachusetts Gen

eral Hospital, Executive Secretary of the Tumor Clinic,

and Surgeon at Pondville Hospital. He has been the Co

ordinator of Cancer Teaching and also served on the

University Committee for Cancer Research and Train

ing at the Harvard Medical School.

During the war, the Huntington Laboratories de

voted then- efforts to the study of wound shock. To this

Dr. Nathanson contributed materially. When the emer

gency was over, his mind again focused on the thera

peutic effects of the sex hormones on cancer of the breast

and prostate—in other terms, the reaction of tumors

to their environment. As financial support increased, he

had a series of distinguished associates who collaborated

with him in his work and eliminated the need for his

doing laborious chemical analyses. Out of these efforts

emerged a clear delineation of beneficial and injurious

effects which can be elicited by administering sex hor

mones to cancer patients. There was also other work

on analogous lines—work on animals.

Over the years there were great demands for him

to serve on medical and scientific boards. He served as

Chairman of the Therapeutic Trials Panel of the Ameri

can Medical Association and member of the Committee

on Growth, and Chairman of the Committee of Cancer

Diagnosis and Therapy of the National Research Coun

cil. His tremendous interest and great conscientiousness

led him to accept such assignments without hesitation.

Needless to say, he soon became overwhelmed by ad

ministrative work. He was universally sought after as

a wise counselor and able director of committee delibera

tions, and a dynamic lecturer. With ever increasing de

mands upon him, he added these new responsibilities to

an already very full life, for this was the way Ira

Nathanson wanted to spend his life.

Students and interns loved him, because teaching

was one of his great pleasures, and he did it outstand

ingly well. He was never too busy to teach young men.

From an undergraduate at the Medical School came

the words: "Ira Nathanson, a scholar, was a great teach

er, for his students loved him." All his students and

patients were devoted to him, because of his loyalty,

helpfulness, and understanding. His capacity for friend

ship was tremendous. One came to realize this when

his death stimulated the verbal appreciation of his

countless friends.

Dr. Nathanson's one consuming interest was his

work, with a great loyalty to his Hospital and his

adopted University. He allowed few things to divert

him from his dominant interest. His other great interest

was his parents, and the care of them. Throughout his

life he maintained a great devotion to his family.

That he had the strength to carry on as he did gives

some comfort. Ill health would not have become him.

Ira Nathanson gave much to the world; he still had

much to give.







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