Dr. Merrill Egorin Taught Final Lessons from Hospital Bed

By Ramirez, Chris | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, August 9, 2010 | Go to article overview

Dr. Merrill Egorin Taught Final Lessons from Hospital Bed


Ramirez, Chris, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


As co-leader of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute's Molecular Therapeutics and Drug Discovery Program, Dr. Merrill Egorin helped develop medicine that would help ease the suffering of cancer patients.

Family and friends said his passion for teaching and mentoring aspiring physicians will be his legacy. And he gave what would be his final lessons from his own hospital room, while stricken with the illness he fought to eradicate.

Dr. Merrill J. Egorin of Shadyside died Saturday, Aug. 7, 2010, from what family members say was multiple myeloma. He was 62.

Family and friends said Dr. Egorin dedicated his life to improving treatment and quality care for cancer patients. His focus took on more urgency in 2005, when he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer that occurs in bone marrow.

He endured a stem cell transplant and had undergone chemotherapy. He was in and out of the hospital the last few months for treatment.

Melanie Egorin of Frankfurt, Germany, said her father was anything but a typical patient. He made himself a case study for his students and colleagues, teaching interns and aspiring doctors about the effects of cancer from his own sickbed.

"He took conference calls in his hospital room while he was being treated," Melanie Egorin said. "For him to say what a cancer patient is experiencing or how they're responding (to treatment), it really meant something."

Dr. Egorin received his training in medical oncology and pharmacology in Baltimore Cancer Research Center in the 1970s and became a staff physician in 1981 at the University of Maryland Hospital. There, he eventually became a professor of medicine, pharmacology, and experimental therapeutics and oncology, and served as head of the Division of Developmental Therapeutics of the University of Maryland Cancer Center from 1982 to 1998. …

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