DR. GARY KRUH, 1951-2011

01/07/2011

Dr. Gary Kruh, director of the University of Illinois at Chicago Cancer Center, died Jan. 5 from a traumatic brain injury. He was 59.

As a clinician, Kruh specialized in the treatment of lung cancer patients. His research focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms that enable cancer cells to resist chemotherapy agents.

Kruh came to UIC in 2007 from Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia where he was an attending physician, associate professor of medical oncology, and acting head of the pharmacology department.

"Dr Kruh was a physician deeply committed to both cancer biology and cure, and in building a high quality and state-wide cancer program," said Joseph Flaherty, MD, dean of the UIC College of Medicine. "He worked tirelessly on bringing all parts of the UI community together on this and moved our goal forward considerably. He will be deeply missed personally and professionally."

An avid and unabashed New York Yankees fan, Kruh was often seen on campus sporting a Yankees cap while wearing a suit and tie.

Born in Brooklyn, Kruh earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry and his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine. He completed his internship and residency in internal medicine and subspecialty training in medical oncology at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He later completed postdoctoral training at the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health.

Kruh became interested in cancer "because the biology of it is so rich, there are so many questions to be answered, and there is so much opportunity for helping patients," he said in an interview discussing his plans to bring together researchers, educators and clinicians from all six of UIC's health sciences colleges-Medicine, Applied Health Sciences, Dentistry, Nursing, Pharmacy and the School of Public Health-as well the colleges of Engineering and Liberal Arts and Sciences, in the fight against cancer.

Kruh worked to unite the efforts of 180 laboratory, clinical science and population science researchers who annually receive a total of $49 million for cancer-related research at UIC.

He reconfigured the Cancer Center's research programs to focus on cancer control and population science, carcinogenesis and chemoprevention, experimental therapeutics and imaging, and tumor cell biology.

"He had a dedicated and passionate commitment to ending cancer disparities in Chicago and Illinois, and sincere and humble commitment to ending suffering from cancer," said Adrienne White, vice president of health initiatives and advocacy for the Illinois chapter of the American Cancer Society.

Dr. Kruh just recently celebrated with the American Cancer Society the opening of the first Comprehensive Patient Navigation Center at UIC on Dec. 10.

"He was instrumental in the year long partnership development effort between ACS and UIC clinical oncology programs, which led to this monumental event," White said.

"Gary will be remembered for his leadership, vision, energy, sense of humor, and integrity," said JoAnne Sylvester, associate director for administration at the UIC Cancer Center. "During his three years as our director, he made great strides in creating a strong Cancer Center identity and unifying a very diverse group of cancer clinicians and researchers. His strong grasp of how to bring disparate groups together and inspire them toward a common goal was truly a gift and inspires us to remain committed to work together to carry on his vision and build on the momentum he established for our center."

He is survived by his mother Helen Kruh, his uncle Ted Friedrich, and his sister Tina Kruh.

Funeral services will be Jan. 9 at 1:30 p.m. at Bernheim-Apter-Kreitzman, Suburban Funeral Chapel, 66 Old Short Hills Road in Livingston, N.J.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Gary Kruh UIC Cancer Center Tribute, c/o Heather Steinberg, UIC Office of Medical Advancement, 1747 W. Roosevelt Road. (MC 792), Chicago, IL 60608 or the Gary Kruh Tribute Fund, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Development Office, 333 Cottman Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19111.

This news release was written by Sherri McGinnis-González of the UIC News Bureau.