Sidney Farber was born in Buffalo, New York in 1903 to Jewish parents, as one of 14 children. He studied biology and philosophy in college, graduating from the University of Buffalo in 1923. Farber studied in Germany and completed graduate work at Harvard. After arriving at Harvard, Farber completed his advanced pathology training in the late 1920’s.
The NIH summarized Farber’s medical accomplishments as follows: “Farber was a world-renowned pediatric pathologist, made major contributions to his field but is acknowledged as the father of the modern era of chemotherapy. He recognized that folic acid stimulated leukaemic cell growth and enhanced disease progression. He hypothesized that folic acid antagonists would inhibit or arrest the proliferation of cancer cells. His landmark study, published in 1948, demonstrated that a number of folic acid antagonists, including 4-aminopteroyl-glutamic acid (aminopterin) produced temporary remissions in children with acute undifferentiated leukemia. These observations lead to the development and use of other chemotherapeutic agents, either singly or, more effectively, in combination for treating childhood and adult malignancies…Under his guidance and leadership, both the ‘Jimmy Fund’, one of the first comprehensive pediatric oncology treatment centres, and the Children’s Cancer Research Foundation, which later became the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, were founded.”*
*Source as follows: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16803563