In Memoriam: Edwin A. Mirand, PhD, DSc

​(7/18/1926 - 3/1/2017)
Member since 1954

Edwin A. Mirand, PhD, DSc, an AACR member since 1954, died March 1, 2017, at the age of 90. Mirand was dean emeritus of educational affairs at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) in Buffalo, New York, where he spent most of his distinguished career and held many posts. He was known for his major contributions to cancer research, cancer education and policy, and cancer center programs and research administration.

As a scientist, Mirand made noteworthy contributions to research in viral carcinogenesis, erythropoiesis, and gnotobiology, and developed the Hauschka-Mirand ICR germ-free mouse strain.

Mirand’s innovative leadership in both science and public policy had tremendous impact in the United States and internationally. In 1970, he developed the first public cancer education program, the CAN-DIAL information line, for a National Cancer Institute (NCI) contract to provide telephone and counseling services on cancer issues to callers. His successful model led to the NCI’s development of the National Cancer Information Services. 

As part of his extensive involvement in myriad cancer organizations, Mirand served as secretary-treasurer of the Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI), promoting the legislative agenda of cancer institutes and the welfare of cancer center programs. He regularly attended the meetings of the National Cancer Advisory Board so that he could communicate the latest information about the federal funding for cancer research and other topics to colleagues at cancer centers. In this position, he played a vital role in the passage of the National Cancer Act of 1971 by gaining support from cancer constituents and through his testimony before the Congressional Committee.

Mirand’s other leadership roles included secretary-general of the International Union Against Cancer’s (UICC’s) 13th International Cancer Congress in Seattle, Washington, and president of the Association for Gnotobiotics and the International Society for Gnotobiology.

Mirand was deeply committed to cancer education involving students and young researchers, and established and expanded education programs at RPCI. As vice president of educational affairs and dean of the Roswell Park Graduate Division of the University at Buffalo, Mirand founded the Summer Research Program at Roswell Park to give promising young scientists in high school, college, and medical school an opportunity for hands-on experience in cancer research. Mirand’s mentoring program was so successful that in 1958, the National Science Foundation requested his assistance to develop national programs to promote science education and inspire future generations of scientists. 

A Buffalo native, Mirand was born July 18, 1926. He received his bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from the University of Buffalo (now State University of New York at Buffalo) in 1947, and his master’s degree in chemistry in 1949. In 1951, Mirand received his doctoral degree in medical science from Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York, and received further training at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. He began working at RPCI as a college student in 1946 and joined the institute’s permanent staff in 1951.

Mirand was an AACR member for more than 63 years. He was featured on the covers of three Cancer Research issues: May 1982; May 15, 1990; and Oct. 15, 1998.

Mirand’s work was recognized with numerous honors throughout his career, including the Billings Medal in Science from the American Medical Association; the Special Recognition Award from the AACI; the Merit Award from the UICC; and the Certificate for Outstanding Contributions to Programs of the Division of Cancer Research, Resources and Centers of the NCI. He was also an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Beyond his scientific work, Mirand was known at RPCI as the institute’s unofficial archivist and historian, having produced a centennial publication on the institute, Legacy and History of Roswell Park Cancer Institute, 1898-1998, as well as a series of biographies about institute leaders such as founder Dr. Roswell Park. Since his retirement from day-to-day administrative work in 1997, Mirand had been serving as founder and chair of the Dr. Roswell Park Society and as special advisor to the institute’s president and chief executive officer. He was the institute’s longest-serving employee.

Roswell Park named its library in Mirand’s honor upon his retirement, and also recognized his contributions with its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. Additionally, the Buffalo History Museum bestowed its Augspurger Award upon Mirand to honor his “outstanding service to the cause of regional history” in 2013.

Mirand will be missed by his colleagues and friends at the AACR for his vision for the future of cancer research and for his special personal attributes—his dedication to the cause and his extraordinary kindness, humility, and selflessness. The National Cancer Program is better today for having had Ed Mirand as its champion.