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John W. Yarbro

In Memoriam: John W. Yarbro

(09/15/1931 - 04/13/2020)Member since 1966

John W. Yarbro, MD, PhD, a longtime member of the AACR who held leadership roles at several major cancer institutions, passed away April 13, 2020, at age 88. 

Yarbro was born on Sept. 15, 1931. He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry and his medical degree from the University of Louisville. He joined the U.S. Army Medical Corps, interned at Tripler Army Hospital, and served with the 25th Division, Schofield Barracks. He later earned a PhD from the University of Minnesota, where he conducted research on nucleic acids.

Yarbro became chief medical resident at the University of Minnesota. He went on to hold leadership roles as director of the Division of Hematology at the University of Kentucky; founding director of the Department of Medical Oncology at the American Oncologic Hospital (now the Fox Chase Cancer Center); associate director at the National Cancer Institute, where he was in charge of the National Cancer Centers Program; director of the Missouri Cancer Program; and director of the Regional Cancer Center at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, Illinois.

Yarbro served as president of the Association of Community Cancer Centers and secretary-treasurer of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. He chaired many national committees, including the Panel of Hematologic and Neoplastic Diseases of the United States Pharmacopeia; he was a founding editor of Seminars in Oncology; and he helped launch the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Yarbro became an AACR member in 1966 and transferred to Emeritus membership in 1996. He was a member of the AACR’s Chemistry in Cancer Research Working Group.