Zvi Laron

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Zvi Laron
Born (1927-02-06) February 6, 1927 (age 87)
Czernowitz, Romania (now Ukraine)
Ethnicity Jewish
Citizenship Israeli
Alma mater Hebrew University Medical School
Occupation pediatric endocrinologist
Known for Laron syndrome

Zvi Laron (Hebrew: צבי לרון‎, born February 6, 1927) is an Israeli paediatric endocrinologist, born in Cernăuţi, Romania, a professor emeritus at Tel Aviv University. In 1966, he described the type of dwarfism later called Laron syndrome. His research opened the way to the treatment of many cases of growth hormone disorders and of juvenile diabetes.

Biography[edit]

Family background and childhood[edit]

Laron was born on February 7, 1927, to a Jewish family in the Bukovinian city of Cernăuţi (Czernowitz), then in Romania (now in Ukraine). At the age of 6, he moved with his family to another Bukovinian town, Rădăuţi. Following the June 1941 invasion of the USSR by Nazi Germany, Romania allied itself with Nazi Germany and regained Northern Bucovina (which had been annexed by the USSR in 1940), the 14 years old child and his family were deported to the concentration camps of Transnistria. There he had the chance to survive as a worker in a factory, which was founded in Mogilev by his uncle, Siegfried Sami Jagendorf (1885–1970), in order to save as many Jewish deportees as possible. Accordingly, Laron became a licensed turner.

Studies in Romania and Israel[edit]

After the end of the war, Laron was able to complete his high school studies and in 1945 he commenced his studies in medicine at the newly founded Medical School (Institutul medico-farmaceutic) in the town of Timişoara, in western Romania. He was an active member of the Zionist students movement "Hasmonea", and left Romania in 1947 in order to emigrate illegally to Eretz Israel, then Mandatory Palestine. The ship of Jewish refugees from Eastern Europe, "Pan York" (nicknamed in Hebrew "Kibbutz Galuyot") was captured in the Mediterranean Sea by the British navy and its passengers, including Laron, were deported to internment camps in Cyprus. After the proclamation of the State of Israel in May 1948, Laron was freed and allowed to enter the country. After his arrival, he was recruited to work in Jaffa's "Dajani" and Tel Hashomer's hospitals. In 1952, he graduated with MD from the Hadassah Hospital Hebrew University Medical School, Jerusalem. He then did his internship at Rambam Hospital in Haifa. During 1956–1957, he was a research and clinical fellow in paediatrics at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School Boston, and at a hospital in Pittsburgh, while his fellowships was focalized especially on infantile endocrinology.

Work as endocrinologist in Israel[edit]

In 1957, Laron returned to Israel and joined André de Vries in founding the pediatric endocrinological research in Israel. He was one of the founders in 1958 of the Institute for Pediatric and Adolescent Endocrinology at the Beilinson Medical Center in Petah Tikva, affiliated to Tel Aviv University, and led it until 1992. Laron was one of the first members of the teaching staff of the School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University and had a leading role in elaborating the pediatric teaching program at that institution. From 1983 to 1997 Laron was Incumbent of the Irene and Nicholas Marsh Chair in Endocrinology and Juvenile Diabetes, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University. He also founded the All-Country Center for Juvenile Diabetes and an endocrinological laboratory aimed to develop new methods of detecting hormones in blood. This laboratory works in the frame of Felsenstein Institute of Research.

Since 1998 Laron has been Professor Emeritus of Pediatric Endocrinology, Tel Aviv University and Director of Endocrinology and Diabetes Research Unit, Schneider Children's Medical Center of Israel. This center was previously known as the Beilinson Medical Center, Petah Tikva.

The well known Laron syndrome, or Laron-type dwarfism described by him in 1966, together with A. Pertzelan and S. Mannheimer, related to a growth hormone receptor mutation is named after him. Resistance to GH was first reported by Laron in 1966. Since then, severe resistance to GH, characterized by grossly impaired growth despite normal levels of GH in serum, has been termed Laron syndrome. The institute of pediatric endocrinology founded and led by him was among the first medical centers to produce and use in therapy the GH and IGF hormone. Prof. Laron was among the founders and editor of the international Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, of the scientific journals Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism, Pediatric and Adolescent Endocrinology and Pediatric Endocrinology Reviews.

Awards[edit]

Zvi Laron has received many honours, among them:

  • 1982 Paul Langerhans Medal and Memorial Lecture, German Diabetes Association
  • 1987 Member, German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina
  • 1993 Award of Merit conferred by ISPAD (International Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetology)
  • 1995 Honorary Member of the Medical and Scientific Academy of Romania
  • 1998 Doctor Honoris Causa conferred by the University of Medicine and Pharmacy "Iuliu Hatieganu", Cluj-Napoca, Romania
  • 1998 Centennial Medal, Italian Pediatric Society
  • 1999 Andrea Prader Prize – ESPE (European Society of Pediatric Endocrinology)
  • 2000 Doctor Honoris Causa, University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Timisoara, Romania
  • 2000 Doctor Honoris Causa, University of Novara, Italy
  • 2001 Recipient of The Endocrine Society (USA) Clinical Investigator Award
  • 2002 Nominated Honorary President of the Hellenic Society for the Study and Applications of Growth Hormone, Greece
  • 2003 International Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes (ISPAD)Prize for achievements in Science, Education and Advocacy for Childhood Diabetes
  • 2008 Knight, First Class of the Order of the White Rose of Finland awarded by the President of the State of Finland
  • 2009 Israel Prize awarded by the State of Israel in recognition for contributions in the field of pediatric endocrinology and diabetes
  • 2012 Recipient of the Human Growth Foundation (USA) Award, Houston, Texas

Selective list of papers and books[edit]

Laron wrote more than thousand scientific papers and wrote and took part to the editing of thirty books.

The Adipose Child. November 1976.

  • as editor:

International Beilinson Symposium Staff, Diabetes in Juveniles : Proceedings of the 2nd Beilinson Symposium on the Various Faces in Juveniles. Jerusalem, Israel. 2nd edition, 1977.

  • as editor:

International Beilinson Symposium Staff, : Psychological Aspects of Balance of Diabetes in Juvenile : Proceedings of the 3rd Beilinson Symposium, Pt. 2, Herzliya, 1875. September 1977.

  • as editor:

Third Joint Meeting of the European Society for Pediatric Endocrinology (ESPE) and the Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society (LWPES) : Proceedings of the Plenary Lectures and Symposia, Jerusalem, October–November 1989. July 1990.

John Boulton, Zvi Laron, Jean Rey, editors: Long Term Consequences of Early Feeding. 1995.

"Somatomedin-1 (recombinant insulin-like growth factor-1): Clinical pharmacology and potential treatment of endocrine and metabolic disorders". Biodrugs, 1999, 11: 55–70.

"The essential role of IGF-1: Lessons from the long-term study and treatment of children and adults with Laron syndrome". The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 1999, 84: 4397–4404.

References[edit]

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See also[edit]