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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

The man who helped save millions of lives yet few knew his name

By Thomas H. Maugh, II




The one-time yeshiva student who, after studying the "existential reasoning of the Talmud" and rabbinic commentaries, went on to discover the hepatitis B virus, proved it could cause liver cancer, and eventually collaborated in the development of a vaccine to fight it. It was the first vaccine against cancer

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) Dr. Baruch Blumberg, who received the 1976 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for discovering the hepatitis B virus, which causes severe liver disease and cancer, and who later developed the vaccine that protects against it, has died. He was 85.

Blumberg died Tuesday after apparently suffering a heart attack after delivering the keynote address at a NASA conference at the agency's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field in Mountain View, Calif., near San Jose.

The isolation of the hepatitis B virus and development of a test for it were the first steps in the elimination of the virus from the U.S. blood supply, and the development of the vaccine led to a sharp decline in the incidence of both infections and liver cancer worldwide. Today it is one of the most widely used vaccines in the world and has saved millions of lives.

Blumberg actually stumbled on the virus by accident, stunning researchers who had spent decades searching for the cause of what was then called serum hepatitis.

In the 1960s, researchers knew that there were two types of "yellow jaundice" or hepatitis, one of them transmitted through the gastrointestinal system in food and the other transmitted through blood. Those two are now called hepatitis A and B, and scientists know there are three other types as well, called C, D and E.

Between his third and fourth years of medical school, Blumberg had spent some time working at the isolated mining town of Moengo in what was then Dutch Guinea, now Surinam, and was impressed by the widely different responses to infectious agents among different ethnic populations. He noted, for example, that miners born in Africa were much more susceptible to infections by the parasite that caused elephantiasis than those born in Indonesia or China.

That was the basis of his first scientific publication.
The second of three children of Meyer and Ida Blumberg, my grandparents came to the United States from Europe at the end of the 19th century. They were members of an immigrant group who had enormous confidence in the possibilities of their adopted country. I received my elementary education at the Yeshiva of Flatbush, a Brooklyn Hebrew parochial school, and, at an early age, in addition to a rigorous secular education, learned the Hebrew Testament in the original language. We spent many hours on the rabbinic commentaries on the Bible and were immersed in the existential reasoning of the Talmud at an age when we could hardly have realized its impact.
            — From an autobiographical essay

In an interview with the New York Times he said saving lives,was the whole point of his career. He told the paper: There is, in Jewish thought, this idea that if you save a single life, you save the whole world, and that affected me.




Blumberg began collecting blood samples from ethnic groups around the world to investigate a variety of problems, such as why some Africans have a higher susceptibility to sickle cell disease than others. In 1963, he found in the blood of an Australian aborigine an unknown substance, or antigen, that reacted with immune molecules in the blood of a hemophilia patient in the United States.

In 1964, Blumberg noticed that a Down syndrome patient whose blood had previously shown no reaction to the antigen suddenly began reacting to it, and the patient subsequently developed hepatitis. After he observed the same sequence of events in another patient, he began testing for the "Australian antigen" in blood from serum hepatitis patients and found it was consistently present.

He subsequently showed that the Australian antigen was a molecule from the surface of the hepatitis B molecule, and it is now known as hepatitis B surface antigen.

But his 1967 paper reporting his discovery of the virus was rejected by the Annals of Internal Medicine, largely because he was a biochemist, not a virologist. As he recalled in his autobiography prepared for the Nobel Prize committee, "We were outsiders not known to the main body of hepatitis investigators, some of whom had been pursuing their field of interest for decades. We were surprised by the hostility engendered among our new colleagues."

But his results were soon replicated by other researchers and the virus was quickly recognized as the cause of the disease. His development of a diagnostic test for the virus in blood soon led to the elimination of the majority of cases of hepatitis transmitted through blood. The 1989 identification of the hepatitis C virus by other researchers and development of a test for it led to elimination of the rest.


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Blumberg then began working on a vaccine against the virus. Unfortunately, the virus could not be coaxed to grow in the laboratory in sufficient quantities to produce a vaccine. Blumberg and his colleague, Dr. Irving Millman of the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, prepared the first vaccine by isolating the hepatitis B surface antigen from patients with the disease.

Once again, their efforts were met by indifference, this time from pharmaceutical companies, who did not think such a vaccine could be profitable. Some of them were still not convinced that Blumberg's purported virus even caused the disease. Eventually, however, in 1976 Blumberg and Millman signed an agreement with Merck & Co. to produce the vaccine.

The vaccine did not initially have wide distribution because of its high cost. Eventually, however, researchers used recombinant DNA technology to manufacture the surface antigen in microorganisms, and universal vaccination programs became widespread.

Baruch Samuel Blumberg, known to his friends as Barry, was born July 28, 1925, in New York City. He enrolled at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., but dropped out in 1943 to enlist in the Navy, becoming a deck officer on landing ships and eventually commanding one. In later years, he made several trips as a merchant seaman and held a license as a ship's surgeon.

After the war, he returned to Union College and completed his undergraduate degree in physics. He enrolled in graduate school in mathematics at Columbia University, but at his father's urging, switched to medicine, receiving his medical degree in 1951. He also received a doctoral degree in biochemistry from Oxford University's Balliol College.

After nearly two decades at Fox Chase, in 1989 he was elected Master of Balliol College at the University of Oxford, where he initiated one of Oxford's first development programs to solicit funds from alumni, foundations, companies and others. He was the first scientist who was Master at Balliol, except for a 14th century alchemist.

Returning to the United States in 1997, he joined the Program on Human Biology at Stanford University. While there, he attended a NASA astrobiology workshop at Ames and became fascinated by the proceedings. NASA's then-director Dan Goldin subsequently recruited him to become the first head of the agency's new Astrobiology Institute, which researched not only such questions as whether life can exist elsewhere in the universe, but also how it originated and evolved on Earth.

He was particularly interested in what came to be known as extremophiles, those organisms that can live in unusually hot and arid or exceptionally cold environments. He reasoned that they might provide a model for the types of life that could develop elsewhere.

But he did not expect to find intelligent life outside Earth, at least anytime soon. "If we found something more like a virus or a bacteria, that would be astounding enough," he said in a 2002 interview.

An avid outdoorsman, he enjoyed middle-distance running in his early years, played squash, hiked and canoed and walked the mountains. He also was a co-owner of a farm in western Maryland that supplied beef for a local market. "Shoveling manure for a day is an excellent counterbalance to intellectual work," he said.

Blumberg is survived by his wife of 57 years, the former Jean Liebesman; two sons, two daughters and nine grandchildren.

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