ASCO is saddened by the passing of Irwin H. Krakoff, MD, on August 9, 2023, at the age of 100. He is remembered as one of the founding fathers of modern chemotherapy.

Dr. Krakoff was born July 20, 1923, in Columbus, OH. He attended The Ohio State University, earning his bachelor’s degree in 1943 and his medical degree in 1947. He completed his internship at Mount Sinai Hospital, Cleveland, and his residency at Boston City Hospital. But he put his medical career on hold to serve in the United States Navy during World War II.

On his return in 1953, Dr. Krakoff became a research fellow at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) and eventually led the Chemotherapy Program, Medical Oncology Service, and Department of Medicine. It was at MSKCC that he researched purine metabolism and new cancer drugs focused on patients with leukemia. Specifically, he identified the role of allopurinol in preventing urate nephropathy, a common complication when treating patients with leukemia and lymphoma.

In 1976, Dr. Krakoff left MSKCC to found and direct the Vermont Cancer Center at the University of Vermont.

“Bringing state-of-the art cancer care to a fairly rural population and gaining NCI designation for that cancer center was something that my team there and I were very proud of,” Dr. Krakoff said in 2015 interview with ASCO Daily News.

Read more in ASCO Connection.