Sidney Farber

Sidney Farber (1903-1973)

Sidney Farber (1903-1973) was an American pediatric pathologist.

Farber was a pioneer of modern chemotherapy and pediatric pathology. His work using folic acid antagonists to combat leukemia led to the development of other chemotherapeutic agents to combat malignancies

Published more than 270 books and research papers on pediatric pathology, autopsy, and the history of medicine


  • Born 30 September 1903 Buffalo, New York
  • 1923 – Graduated medicine, SUNY Buffalo
  • 1929 – Instructor in Pathology, Harvard Medical School. Researched childhood disorders and chemotherapy at Harvard and at Children’s Hospital in Boston and inspired Lotte Strauss (1913–1985) to specialise in pediatric pathology
  • 1948 – Founded the Children’s Cancer Research Foundation (CCRF)
  • 1948 – Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School
  • Died 30 March 1973

Medical Eponyms

  • Farber disease (1952) autosomal-recessive, lysosomal storage disorder caused by acid ceramidase deficiency and associated with distinct clinical phenotypes
  • Farber Hall (1953) – South Campus of SUNY Buffalo
  • Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. History: Children’s Cancer Research Foundation (1948); Sidney Farber Cancer Center (1974); Sidney Farber Cancer Institute (1976); Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (1983)

Key Medical Attributions

  • 1947 – Deployed Aminopterin as a folic acid antagonist to induce temporary remission in 10/16 children with leukemia
  • 1955 – Faber discovered that actinomycin D and radiation therapy could produce remission in Wilms tumor

Major Publications

  • Faber S. Pathologic changes associated with pancreatic insufficiency in early life. Archives of Pathology. 1944;37:238–250.
  • Faber S, Diamond LK et al. Temporary Remissions in Acute Leukemia in Children Produced by Folic Acid Antagonist, 4-Aminopteroyl-Glutamic Acid (Aminopterin). N Engl J Med. 1948 Jun 3;238(23):787-93. [PMID 18860765]
  • Faber S. Some observations on the effect of folic acid antagonists on acute leukemia and other forms of incurable cancer. Blood. 1949;4(2):160-167.
  • Faber S. A lipid metabolic disorder: disseminated lipogranulomatosis; a syndrome with similarity to, and important difference from, Niemann-Pick and Hand-Schüller-Christian disease. AMA Am J Dis Child. 1952 Oct;84(4):499-500. [PMID 12975849] [Farber disease]
  • Faber S. Cohen J, Uzman LL. Lipogranulomatosis: a new lipoglycoprotein ‘storage’ disease. J Mt Sinai Hosp N Y. 1957;24(6):816-837. [PMID 13481627]
  • Faber S. Chemotherapy in the treatment of leukemia and Wilms’ tumor. JAMA. 1966 Nov 21;198(8):826-36. [PMID 4288581]
  • Faber S. Newer Agents in the Treatment of Acute Leukemia. Lectures to the Laity. WNYC 1951


  • Miller DR. A tribute to Sidney Farber – the father of modern chemotherapy. Br J Haematol. 2006;134(1):20-26. [PMID 16803563]
  • Wisnia S. Sidney Farber, Chemo Crusader. WNYC 2015
  • Ehlert K et al. Farber disease: clinical presentation, pathogenesis and a new approach to treatment. Pediatr Rheumatol Online J. 2007; 5: 15. [PMC1920510]

eponymictionary CTA


the person behind the name

BA MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM. Emergency physician, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.  Passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |

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