Hong Waun-ki, renowned cancer researcher, dies at 76

Lee Han-soo  Published 2019.01.04  17:48  Updated 2019.01.04 17:57


Dr. Hong Waun-ki, former president of American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and special advisor to Yonsei University, died on Wednesday. He was 76.

The late Dr. Hong Waun-ki

Hong, born in South Korea in 1942, earned his medical degree from Yonsei University School of Medicine in 1967 and served in the Korean Air Force as a flight surgeon during the Vietnam War.

After completing his military service, he began an internship at Bronx/Lebanon Hospital in New York City and then did his residency at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Boston. After his residency, Hong went on to finish his fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York for two years.

Between 1984 and 2014, he worked at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston as chief of the Section of Thoracic Head and Neck, and served as vice president of research, making significant contributions to the hospital.

Hong also became an active member of the AACR in 1982 and took on prominent leadership positions throughout his life. He also became the first foreigner to serve as the president of AACR from 2001 to 2002.

To commemorate his efforts, the AACR created an academic award named after Hong called the “AACR-Waun Ki Hong Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Research.”

Among his achievements, Hong helped open a new horizon for the treatment of cancer by pioneering translational cancer research in the field of tumor medicine and establishing a new team approach concept in cancer patient treatment.

Also, his multidisciplinary treatment increased the cure rate for cancer patients and settled the concept that patients that overcame cancer can enjoy a normal life.

The memorial service for Hong will be held on Jan. 12, in Newport Beach, California.

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