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José Baselga (1959–2021), oncologist who revolutionized breast cancer treatment

by Linnea Crowther

José Baselga was a Spanish oncologist who developed highly effective new drugs for treating breast cancer.

Saving lives

Working as both an oncologist and a researcher, Baselga was involved in the development of cancer drugs including Herceptin and Perjeta. Both drugs effectively target an aggressive form of breast cancer and have been credited with extending and saving lives. They have also been useful in targeting other cancers, including stomach and kidney cancers. Baselga was chief medical officer and physician in chief at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York before resigning in 2018 amid controversy over his lack of disclosure of his connections to drug and health care companies. He was later hired by AstraZeneca as chief of research and development in oncology.

Baselga’s advice for other doctors

“Whatever you do in the future, think only of the good of the patients. In the end that is what you’ll take when you die.” —as quoted by Javier Cortes


Tributes to José Baselga

Full obituary: The Washington Post

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