A champion of protecting the brains of children and future generations, Dr. Herberman was the Founding Director at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) and the UPMC Cancer Centers and Professor of Medicine & Biology. Dr. Herberman issued the world’s first cancer center advisory on cellphone safety in 2008. That same year he testified before Congress about alarming studies showing that children’s brains absorb much more cellphone radiation than adults.
An eminent and prolific cancer biologist and immunologist, Dr. Herberman started his long and distinguished career with the National Cancer Institute (NCI), where he was involved in the discovery of natural killer cells from 1968 to 1988. He established the world’s first center for environmental oncology at the UPCI and created cross disciplinary programs to advance oncology research and practice. At the time of his death, he served as Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President for Research and Development at TNI Bio Tech Inc., Bethesda, Maryland. With a lifelong commitment to cancer research, he served on the Board of the American Association for Cancer Research and had received the Lifetime Science Award by the Institute for Advanced Studies in Immunology and Aging. Aside from serving as Chairman with the EHT, he also served as president of the American Association of Cancer Institutes and was a past president with the Society for Biological Therapy and the Society for Natural Immunity. An award-winning scientist, acclaimed, prolific and highly respected administrator, Dr. Herberman was also recognized as one of 100 most influential cancer biologists.
EHT’s founder, Dr. Devra Davis, worked closely with Dr. Herberman when she was the Founding Director, Center for Environmental Oncology, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, and reflects on the passing of a mentor and friend: “He was a true pioneer and fearless scientist. Over five years ago, Dr. Herberman warned of the long term dangers of unprotected cell phone use. He cautioned parents to keep phones away from young children. He advocated that adults use headsets or speakerphones when speaking on cell phones and children use phones only in emergencies. Today, many authorities around the world have adopted this message, but there is much work to be done to insure protection for all. Parents, worldwide are extremely grateful for Dr. Herberman’s commitment to protecting their children. His quiet brilliance and scientific excellence will be sorely missed.”
“We have lost a great scientist, scientific leader, mentor, and dear friend, who was a giant in the oncology world,” reflects Shalom Kalnicki, M.D. Chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore, who worked with Dr. Herberman for more than two decades.
“Ron Herberman was a human oncologist. He was both a cancer doctor and a cancer patient. He had a perspective which allowed him to see all sides of the disease and was not afraid to consider new ideas. He quietly and deliberately inspired younger generations of doctors who are willing to take on new challenges,” said Ronald Balassanian, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor of Pathology at the University of California San Francisco.
Dr. Herberman is survived by his wife, Harriet, his children: jazz guitarist, Steve Herberman and research assistant professor in Psychiatry of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Holly Herberman Mash, and three grandchildren.