W. Thomas London, MD, a longtime AACR member whose work helped establish the link between chronic hepatitis B infection and liver cancer and led to the development of the hepatitis B vaccine, died June 3, 2017, at the age of 85.
Dr. London was born March 11, 1932, and grew up in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College and a medical degree from Cornell University Medical College. He worked for the National Institutes of Health, then in 1966, joined the Hepatitis B Research Program at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. He went on to become a senior member of the cancer center’s Division of Population Science and the founder of the Liver Cancer Prevention Program, and he chaired Fox Chase’s Institutional Review Board.
Dr. London garnered international recognition for his research on the pathogenesis, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of viral-related liver cancer. He was part of the research team that first identified the hepatitis B virus and ultimately developed a vaccine to prevent it. The team’s work also led to the development of the first blood test to detect infection. He conducted much of his research alongside Nobel Laureate Baruch “Barry” Blumberg, MD, PhD, a longtime mentor.
Dr. London traveled extensively and helped establish hepatitis research programs in Senegal and China as well as in Philadelphia.
Dr. London joined the AACR in 1969. During his tenure as an AACR member, Dr. London served as an assistant editor and an editorial board member of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. He also served on the Molecular Epidemiology Working Group.
He was also a two-term president of the American Society of Preventive Oncology, and a board member of the Hepatitis B Foundation, which established the W. Thomas London Distinguished Professorship in his honor.