To Dr. Arnold H. Kassanoff, the patient was the most important focus of medicine. While tiny microbes could be seen under the microscope and large epidemics mapped across continents, his only unit of measurement was the person beneath his stethoscope. A consummate diagnostician, he believed in the power of science to heal the body and to expand the reach of medical treatment. He was known as the internist's internist, a physician deeply committed to primary care, but his interests extended to the frontiers of medical research. With medical genetics, Dr. Kassanoff saw a way of understanding what had previously been considered sporadic diseases to have a true underlying pattern. Modern genetics proved them to be heritable. When the BRCA-2 gene touched his own life, his interest became a driving motivation.
The Arnold H. Kassanoff FORCE Fund raises money for medical research into the BRCA-2 gene -- a genetic mutation known to cause breast cancer in men and women, as well as ovarian and uterine cancers. Particularly common in Jewish people of Eastern European descent, the BRCA-2 gene is much more common than is currently diagnosed. While those who carry the gene may not necessarily manifest these cancers, the fear caused by increased risk is very real. Women with this gene have little recourse but to have increased breast surveillance or prophylactic mastectomies, hysterectomies and oophorectomies. One of the goals of current research is to provide non-invasive cures through genetic therapies that researchers are just on the verge of developing.
Dr. Arnold Kassanoff believed that we all live in our time, and ours is a time of great scientific opportunity. We are proud to establish this life-saving fund in memory of a life-saving physician.