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Interview with Isaac Berenblum, MD, and Philippe Shubik, D.Phil., DM

"Video Profiles": An interview with Isaac Berenblum, MD, and Philippe Shubik, D.Phil., DM, Recipients of the 1978 Ernst W. Bertner Memorial Award. Interviewed by Don Macon. An MDA-TV Presentation. Department of Medical Communication. Produced for Office of the President. 3/3/1978. (Program #94-1-78). The recording runs 28:43 minutes.
(0:01) Don Macon introduces the program and speakers. He notes the occasion of the 31st Annual Symposium on Fundamental Cancer Research, held in Houston and sponsored by M. D. Anderson, the National Cancer Institute, and the American Cancer Society, Texas Division, as well as in cooperation with the University of Texas Health Science Center and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. He introduces Professor Isaac Berenblum, Professor Emeritus at the Weizmann Institute in Israel, and Dr. Philippe Shubik of the Eppley Institute for Research in Cancer in Nebraska.
(2:24) The interview starts with Berenblum explaining their relationship and how they devised experiments together at Oxford. Berenblum then gives an account of his time as a medical student, primarily interested in research rather than practicing medicine. At the time a new cancer department was being established at Leeds University. After eight years at Leeds he received a fellowship and went to Oxford.
(6:12) Shubik offers his own account of medical school at Oxford and his desire to do research. He then served as a doctor during the war. He discusses the School of Pathology at Oxford and the opportunity to study with the discoverers of penicillin as well as Berenblum. During his clinical education he saw the first patients treated with penicillin. He speaks about Berenblum’s approach and influence. He notes how his exposure to tropical medicine, preventative medicine, and environmental factors influenced his approach to cancer research.
(9:13) Macon steers the conversation to the Bertner Award they have just received. work. Berenblum discusses the phases of their work with carcinogenesis. He describes their initial excitement, a “latent period,” where others did not show much interest, and a time about 10 years ago when the idea gained traction. He says clinicians and epidemiologists noticed that what they'd been studying in animals could have application to people. He notes there are now 20-25 research centers actively pursuing the two-step mechanism.
(11:45) Shubik notes how the slow-running experiments offered him time to do research and chemistry, as well as to get his license to work with animals. Berenblum had done work on environmental carcinogens. He reflects on their small but fairly comprehensive program in carcinogenesis.
(14:50) Berenblum discusses his move to start a new department at the Weizmann Institute in Israel in 1950. They had suggested a department of cancer research, whereas he proposed a department of experimental biology. He notes a colleague did the same for biochemistry.
(17:50) Berenblum speaks to the development of academic excellence at that Institute and within Israel generally.
(20:24) Shubik discusses his move from Oxford to Nebraska, including at stop at Northwestern University. He then had the opportunity to build a new department at the new Chicago Medical School, which allowed him to run some experiments he was interested in. He discusses experiments. He notes he moved to Omaha in the late 1960s and highlights that program’s emphasis on carcinogenesis.
(26:32) Berenblum interjects with a story relating to the question of scholarship in Israel.
(27:24) The interview wraps up.

Berenblum, I. (Isaac), 1903-