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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 37  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 5  

In Memorium

Date of Web Publication08-Dec-2022

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-3919.362982

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How to cite this article:
. In Memorium. Indian J Nucl Med 2022;37, Suppl S1:5

How to cite this URL:
. In Memorium. Indian J Nucl Med [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 Mar 20];37, Suppl S1:5. Available from:

Commemorating 80th year of the Landmark discovery by Dr Saul Hertz of Radioiodine treatment for thyroid cancer cure: A heartfelt Tribute by his daughter Barbara Hertz

My dad Dr. Saul Hertz, (1905-1950) conceived and brought from bench to bedside the medical uses of radioiodine (RAI). My mother saved boxes of his primary source materials, in the attic of my childhood home. I have come to know the significance of his legacy, the challenges he overcame and the integrity in which he accomplished his paradigm changing contribution to modern medicine.

Dr. Hertz demonstrated the success of RAI to diagnose and treat Graves' disease/hyperthyroidism. He made use of uptake testing, dosimetry and RAI as a biomarker to establish a precision-targeted approach. In 1942, he conducted and reported his clinical trials using RAI with thyroid cancer patients After WWII, Dr Hertz refined the use of RAI in diagnosing and treating thyroid carcinoma. In June, 1946, The American Magazine quotes Hertz, stating,” ...demand is expected for radioactive iodine and as research develops in the field of cancer and leukemia, for other radioactive medicines.” Additionally predicting, “My new research project is in Cancer of the Thyroid which I believe holds the key to the larger problem of Cancer in general.”

Uptake Testing - Multiscaler- Precision Medicine (c) 1940's

MIT's Arthur Roberts, Ph.D. (left). MGH's Dr Saul Hertz (right)

Preclinical Studies, 1937: Integration of the Sciences/Collaboration

He successfullytreated thyroid cancer and researched the use of radionuclides and hormones for other forms of cancer. In May,1949, a Harvard Crimson headline read, “Hertz to Use Nuclear Fission in Cure for Cancer”. In 1949, he established the first Nuclear Medicine Department reported as, “Opening a new division where radioactive isotopes will be used to study and treat diseases. Hertz's enduring treatment and the process of targeted therapy has extended the lives of countless generations of patients worldwide.

A thyroid cancer survivor emailed, “Treatment with radioactive iodine knocked the thyroid cancer (metastatic to a little bit of bone and lung) right out of me, exceeding the expectations… Many were praying for me. The cure delivered on the wings of prayer was Saul Hertz's discovery, the miracle of radioactive iodine. Few can equal such a powerful and precious gift.”

I am extremely humbled and honored by the Society of Nuclear Medicine-India for inviting this write-up from me in the honor of my beloved Dad 'Dr. Saul Hertz'. He would be joyful with the Renaissance and success of theranostics.

Barbara Hertz


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