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Ludwig Cancer Research mourns the death of Sanjiv Sam Gambhir

JULY 20, 2020, New York— We extend our deepest condolences to the family and many friends of Sanjiv Sam Gambhir, Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Professor for Clinical Investigation in Cancer Research at Stanford University, who died July 18th from cancer. He was 57.

A researcher and physician, Sam Gambhir was widely considered among the founders of modern molecular imaging and a pioneer of its application to the early detection of cancer. He was Chair of the Department of Radiology and Director of the Molecular Imaging Program and of the Precision Health and Integrated Diagnostics Center at Stanford. He was also co-founder and director of the Canary Center at Stanford for Cancer Early Detection.

These titles, of course, scarcely capture the full measure of the scientist, physician, inventor and man that was Sam Gambhir. His friends, colleagues and trainees will remember him as a deeply empathetic man whose soft-spoken manner and gentility concealed a profound resolve and searing passion for the conquest of cancer, a disease that claimed his teenage son, Milan, five years before it took his life. Oncologists will forever recall a giant of their profession, a visionary who helped bring PET scans to the clinic and wrote many of the decision algorithms that enabled its use for cancer diagnostics. The people of Ludwig Cancer Research—and, for that matter, scientists around the world—will remember Gambhir as a brilliant and creative scientist who mastered multiple disciplines with apparent ease, and an inventor who had a knack for not just imagining but reifying diagnostic technologies most would consign only to their wildest dreams.

You can learn more about Gambhir’s remarkable life and contributions to cancer research in this profile in our 2018 Annual Report.

Gambhir was co-author of hundreds of scientific papers and scores of patents, a co-founder of three startup companies fielding new technologies for the detection and treatment of cancer and recipient of numerous professional awards and honors. He was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2008, the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2014, and the National Academy of Inventors in 2016.


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