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W. Thomas London, MD
Fox Chase Cancer Center
333 Cottman Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19111
Professor Emeritus and Emeritus Chairman of the Institutional Review Board
- MD, Weill Medical College, Cornell University, 1957
- BA, Oberlin College, 1953
Honors & Awards
- Distinguished Interdisciplinary Research Award, American Cancer Society Southeast Region, 1999
- Distinguished Scientist Award, Hepatitis B Foundation, Doylestown, PA, 1998
- American Association of Ethnic Chinese Medical Excellence Award, American Liver Foundation, Delaware Valley Chapter, 1991
- Namesake of W. Thomas London Professorship at the Baruch S. Blumberg Research Institute in Doylestown, PA.
In 1966, Dr. London began a long-term collaboration with Dr. Baruch Blumberg, the discoverer of the hepatitis B virus (HBV). He has had a leading role in epidemiological, clinical and virological studies of hepatitis B and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) that has resulted in more than 265 publications. Dr. London initiated an HCC prevention program for Asian Americans living in the Philadelphia area in 1983 that continued until 2004. The program combined screening for hepatitis B infection, immunization of susceptibles, management of chronically infected individuals and early detection of HCC.
In 1992, Dr. London initiated large prospective studies of 90,000 adults in Haimen City, China and 19,000 members of the military in Senegal, West Africa. Both areas were known to have high prevalences of chronic infection with HBV and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The goal of the research was to identify the factors that led to high risk of HCC. Chronic infection with HBV proved to be the major risk factor for HCC with viral load (quantity of HBV DNA in serum) the determining factor. Other risk factors were identified including family history of HCC, personal history of clinical hepatitis, and occupation (farmer), Blood folate levels and selenium concentration in toenails were inversely associated with HCC risk. The Haimen City cohort continues to be followed. The risk of HCC was significantly lower for HBV infected men in Senegal than in China. The primary reason was a lower viral load among Senegalese men.