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Klein, George


KLEIN, GEORGE (1925– ), Swedish medical research scientist. Klein was born in Budapest, Hungary where he started his university education before immigrating to Sweden (1947) and earning his M.D. degree from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm (1951). He was on the staff of that institute from 1947, initially as a research fellow and then progressing to professor and head of the Department of Tumor Biology (1957–93) and research group leader in the Microbiology and Tumor Biology Center from 1993. He was visiting professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1973–93). His research interests concerned the biology and clinical problems of cancer, and he made outstanding original contributions to defining and investigating many key issues, notably the role of anti-tumor immunity, the contribution of viral infections and in particular herpes virus infections to human cancer, and the influence of genetic abnormalities on the growth of malignant cells. These observations have had a major influence on our understanding of cancer and its control. Many of his influential scientific papers were written with his scientist wife, Eva Klein, and with collaborators in the Hebrew University. His many honors including the Harvey Prize from the Haifa Technion (1975), the Gairdner Award (1976), honorary doctorates from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1989) and Tel Aviv University (1994), membership in the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, election as foreign associate of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the Robert Koch Gold Medal (1998). He was a noted thinker on broader aspects of science, memorably set out in his books The Atheist and the Holy City (1994), Pieta (1992), and Holy City (1994).

[Michael Denman (2nd ed.)]

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