Jeffrey Isner, noted cardiologist and gene therapy researcher,
died suddenly of a heart attack on October 31, 2001. Isner
A professor at Tufts University School of Medicine and Chief
of both Vascular Medicine and Cardiovascular Research at St.
Elizabeth's Medical Center in Boston, Isner pioneered the
use of gene therapy to treat cardiovascular ailments.
unique approach was to introduce a gene into ailing blood
vessel walls that would stimulate the growth of new vessels
around a blockage.
1994, Isner's team performed the first human cardiovascular
arterial gene transfer. Subsequently, Isner's group initiated
human gene therapy trials for other forms of vascular disease.
Results had been very encouraging. The minimally invasive
procedure, with no apparent side effects nor need for immuno-suppressing
drugs, looked extremely promising.
in 1999, the death of a patient enrolled in a University of
Pennsylvania gene therapy trial prompted an FDA investigation
into gene therapy trials nationwide. Isner's work was shut
down amidst allegations of ethical violations. By the end
of 2001, however, the FDA had given Isner approval to resume
1996, Isner was the recipient of the American Medical Association's
William Beaumont Award, presented annually to a gifted scientist
under the age of fifty. He was also awarded the Outstanding
Faculty Achievement Award from Tufts University in 1996 and
the MERIT Award from the NIH in 2000.
leaves his wife Linda, two sons and a daughter.